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Radhika Menon: First woman in the world to get Bravery Award at Sea by IMO

It took three strenuous attempts in the harsh wind and rain and strong waves before Menon could rescue all seven frail and famished fishermen, aged between 15-50 years

Sampurna Swarajya. Image Source:
  • Captain Menon will be the first woman worldwide to receive a bravery award at sea by IMO
  • She was nominated by the Government of India for displaying immense courage while saving all the fishermen on the fishing boat Durgamma
  • This year’s Awards ceremony will take place at IMO Headquarters, on November 21, at the end of the first day of the Maritime Safety Committee

Radhika Menon, the first female captain in Indian Merchant Navy is all set to receive the 2016 International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea after she played a key role in rescuing seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in June last year.

Captain Menon will be the first woman worldwide to receive a bravery award at sea by IMO. The IMO council, which met for its 116th session in London, advocated this decision of a panel of judges.

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She was nominated by the Government of India for displaying immense courage while saving all the fishermen on the fishing boat Durgamma.

“The boat had drifted from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh all the way to Gopalpur in Odisha when it was spotted by Menon’s team in June last year,” reported TOI.

Radhika Menon Image Source: The New Indian Express
Radhika Menon Image Source: The New Indian Express

The fishermen’s families had lost all hopes to find them and were preparing for their last rites when they received calls about their miraculous rescue.

Apparently, food and water had also been washed away and they were surviving on ice from the cold storage.

While the wave heights were more than 25 feet, and winds were more than 60 knots among heavy rain, on June 22, the second officer Menon on ‘Sampurna Swarajya’ of Shipping Corporation of India, managed to save all the lives.

Spotting the boat 2.5 kilometers away, off the coast of Gopalpur, Menon instantly ordered a rescue operation, with the help of the pilot ladder, life jackets, and buoys ready on call.

It took three strenuous attempts in the harsh wind and rain and strong waves before Menon could rescue all seven frail and famished fishermen, aged between 15-50.

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In an email to TOI, Menon said, “I am humbled, honoured and grateful.”

She added, “It is a maritime obligation to save souls in distress at sea and, as a seafarer and master in command of my ship, I just did my duty.”

This annual Award was established by IMO to provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery to save life at sea or attempt to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment.

This year’s Awards ceremony will take place at IMO Headquarters, on November 21, at the end of the first day of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), says Handy Shipping Guide.

-prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. Twitter handle: iBulbul_



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Ham Radio Operators to help Check Fishermen along West Bengal coast receive Weather Updates in the deep seas

A fisherman in India (representational image), Wikimedia

Kolkata, May 11, 2017: Ham radio operators will help check whether fishermen along West Bengal coast receive weather updates via radio broadcast in the deep seas, an operator said on Thursday.

A joint inspection for measuring the signal strength of All India Radio broadcast in the deep seas will be held on May 14 and 15 by the Coast Guard, AIR, state fisheries department, fishermen’s association, and ham radio operators.

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“Around a year back, 39 fishermen went missing in the deep sea. The reason was they didn’t hear the weather report on radio. We will investigate whether they are receiving these important transmissions,” Ambarish Nag Biswas of the West Bengal Radio Club (Amateur Club) said.

Through ham radio one can talk across cities, around the world, or even into space, all without the internet or cell phones. Ham radio operators or hams can swing into action in times of disaster, when regular communications channels fail, and assist disaster management agencies.

Biswas said the hams will also educate the fishermen on using the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio.

“Although every fishing vessel has a VHF Radio, due to lack of knowledge they are not maintained properly,” he said. (IANS)

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Fishing, Revenue and Sea food: An all you need to know account about aquaculture production

Global production from fishing and aquaculture combined reached approximately 144 million tonnes in 2016

fishing on the coast. Wikipedia commons

Sept 05, 2016:“Fishery and aquaculture production provide direct employment and revenue to an estimated 43.5 million people.”

That’s how important fishery is to the layman! Fishery basically means the business of catching fish or industry of fishing. The fishery concerns itself with the habits, life histories and interrelationships of fish population.People probably began fishing in Africa, very early on in human history. Neanderthals were fishing by about 200,000 BC. Modern humans were gathering shellfish at Blombos Cave in South Africa by about 100,000 BC. Evidences of fishery were found in the Indus Valley and the adjoining areas of Sind, Punjab and Baluchistan. Fishing was super important for early people, and a lot of our early inventions happened around fish.

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As far as the overall fishing is concerned, this sector alone accounts for about a third of the world’s supply of fish products.

All the coastal people get to eat various sea food recipes and their cuisine is very interesting!

India is a land of exotic fishes and seafood’s. A huge variety of fishes and other seafood products are available in the coastal waters of India, Which makes India as one of the leading seafood exporters and traders in world. As compare to the popular chicken dishes, seafood’s are very famous for its taste and short cooking time. Recipe of Indian Seafood are very delicious and easy to Cooked with special Indian spices and herbs. Kerala and Goa are the most famous spot for seafood. Fish is one of the most important ingredients of Goa and kerla cuisine. Every coastal state of India, include fishes in almost every cuisine.West Bengal fish curry is very popular and its taste with rice is delicious.Most popular Seafood in India are fish,crab and prawns. Crab Xacuti and Meen Curry are the the best Seafood of Goa and Kerala.

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Prawn is a major dish in coastal areas of India.Indian fish dishes are gives a lovely tangy flavour. Crab is one of the most favourite seafood dishes all across India. Crab tandoori, Crab curry and crab soups are famous dishes of crabs in India. Lobster is also a very popular marriage party snack in India. Lobster is very famous seafood and can be boiled, steamed, grilled or baked.

Various products are made using fishes and fish processing is itself a very long prcedure.More than three-quarters of the world’s fish production is consumed by humans. Most of the remaining portion is fed to animals, particularly in the form of fishmeal.

Seafood. Image Source: Wikimedia common

Half of the fish is consumed fresh by humans while the other half undergoes some processing. When fish is processed, it is often frozen, but it can also be canned, cured, dried, salted, smoked, etc.Freezing is the main method of processing fish for food use, accounting for 50 percent of total processed fish for human consumption. Fish silage and fish protein hydrolysates obtained from fish viscera are finding applications in the pet feed and the fish feed industries. A number of anticancer molecules have been discovered following research on marine sponges, bryozoans and cnidarians.

Developing countries play a major role in the fishery industry. They account for more than three quarters of the world’s fishery production and for almost half of the world’s exports.   Species and fishery products of high value on world markets include shrimp, salmon, tuna,groundfish, squid and octopus, as well as fishmeal and fish oil. However, relatively low-value species traded in large quantities, such as tilapia from aquaculture, have also gained increasing importance on world markets.

These delightful treats from the sea are key to a healthy diet. Low in calories, sodium, and cholesterol, protein-packed seafood provides vitamins and minerals and may reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.

– prepared by Manthra Koliyer of NewsGram. Twitter @Manthra_koliyer

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Mango Festival, St. Peter’s Day and Film Screening: Find out what makes Trinidad and Tobago so special!

The majority of the population comprises of the people of African and Indian descent, with people of mixed race, that adds to the diversity of the ethnic mix of the country

Trinidad and Tobago. Image source:

The Twin island country, Trinidad and Tobago is full of surprises! Located in South America, the Trinidad and Tobago’s population stands at 1,328,019. The majority of the population comprises of the people of African and Indian descent, with people of mixed race, European, Chinese as well as Middle Eastern ancestry that add to the diversity of the ethnic mix of the country.

Three events that make Trinidad and Tobago full of surprises and special are listed below:

  • Mango Festival, Macoya Market

To celebrate the goodness of Mango, Trinidad and Tobago Mango Festival was held on Sunday,  July 3, 2016, at the National Marketing Development Corporation’s Market in Macoya. This annual mango festival showcases a wide variety of locally-grown mangoes as well as mango products and is organised by the Network of Rural Women Producers of Trinidad and Tobago. This year, in 2016, marked the 21 years of service to rural women and hence the celebration was done on a grand scale.

Mango Festival Trinidad. Image Source:

The idea of the festival is to pay tribute to the economic potential and diversity of mangoes, that is considered as the king of tropical fruits by the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The festival will feature the fun-filled themes of various mango varieties and will also showcase the various products made from Mangoes.

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The objectives of the festival included to make people aware of the benefits of eating mangoes, positive effects of Mango on health, to support enrollment of women in mango industry, to showcase the benefits of mango industry, to reveal the exploitation of mango fruit and to create awareness and educate people about the potential and growth of Mango festival in attracting large number of tourists.

Different products made up of mango. Image Source:
Mango Festival, Macoya Market. Photo: Kumar Mahabir

The festival is one of the largest local food events in the city and attracts a large number of people across the globe. Several delegates also took part in the event and there were activities for children as well, which made it a fun event for people of all ages.

  • St. Peter’s Day in the coastal village of Carenage

The celebration of the birthday of the Biblical fisherman, Saint Peter on June 29 is known as St. Peter’s Day. This day is widely celebrated by all the fishermen across the globe. To make this day special and to mark this day, a special service in the church  is organised as well as a market fair in the churchyard. There is more to this festival, the highlight is a street procession leading to the blessing of the boats and the fishermen by a Roman Catholic priest in the sea.

Saint Peter is an important figure in Christianity and is of great significance for Christians, especially for Roman Catholicism. The festival is regarded as a historical occasion and is centred on the sea, fish, and fisherman in particular. This is so because, according to the biblical story, St. Peter was one of Jesus’ twelve Apostles and also a fisherman.

St Peter's Day celebrations. Image source: Kumar Mahabir
St Peter’s Day celebrations. Photo: Kumar Mahabir

The day begins with a traditional 8 a.m. church service at the St. Peter’s R.C. Church in Carenag, that is conducted by local Archbishop Edward Gilbert. The church is filled with churchgoers who come to celebrate the ritual celebration with family as well as friends. They are also entertained by costumed girls in Caribbean wear with baskets in hands.

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St Peter's Day celebrations. Image source: Kumar Mahavir
St Peter’s Day celebrations. Photo: Kumar Mahabir

Also, many young people leave the procession in between at the fishing centre to join the fishermen riding on their boats for the blessing for their boats. It was followed by silent prayers by the adults.

In the evening, the roads get crowded with merry making and people dancing marked the end of the festival and the villagers return to their respective towns on the last day of the event.

Film screening at UWI Film Programme Building

Directed by Gideon Hanoomansingh, “Calcutta To The Caribbean- An Indian Journey” is a documentary film tells the history of Indians who went to the Caribbean and how the abolition of slavery brought these workers to the sugar plantations.

In 1845, on May 30, a small sailing ship weighing 415 tonnes, the Fatel Rozack, was tied up at the lighthouse jetty in Port of Spain, Trinidad. After almost a 3 months and 6-days voyage from Kolkata (then Calcutta), around the southern tip of Africa and across the southern Atlantic, it came to Trinidad.

Film screening at UWI Film Programme Building, Image source: Kumar Mahabir
Film screening at UWI Film Programme Building, Image source: Kumar Mahabir

The details mentioned here are just mere glimpses of their lives, the documentary holds in it much more. One has to watch it, to get closer to the lives of these Indian labourers, share their struggle and unsaid pain. One journey that doomed their lives forever! Their experiences were akin to slavery.

The film was screened on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at Film Programme, UWI, #12 Carmody St., St. Augustine. This was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival, this year in 2016.