Written by Jaspreet Singh
A 28-year-old chief officer, Simran Mann Singh, who hails from Sangrur, charmed many women NCC cadets at the Lake Club, where officers of the merchant navy celebrated the day of the seafarers on Tuesday. The theme of the World Maritime Day celebrations this year was ‘empowering women in the maritime community’.
“Being a seafarer is not easy but it is also not that difficult. My husband and I are both merchant navy officers. Sometimes, we find it difficult to keep in touch but we go on work around the same time of the year and take our vacations together,” said Simran, who has completed her training from Maritime Training Institute in Mumbai.
She blamed the lack of awareness, popular misconceptions, domestic responsibilities, and poor literacy rate for the low representation of women in the Navy. “I am lucky to have gotten supportive parents and in-laws,” she said. There are 2.25 lakh seafarers in India, however, only 2500 of them are women.
Her husband, Akash Singh (28), also a merchant navy officer, said, “I am from Varanasi and I belong to a family that has a long history in merchant navy. Simran and I met during our training. We both sail at the same period of time. As far as communication is concerned, we are very lucky that we have internet connection in the ships. We stay in touch through social media apps.’’
Captain P.S. Sidhu, a senior officer with The Company of Master Mariners of India, said, “In the maritime community we have less number of women. The young ones should join the navy to see the world. Earlier, liquor used to flow freely in the ships but it is not the case anymore. Several reforms have taken place.’’
“Technology has changed the concept of sailing. The brain now overrules the muscle power. The navy is no longer based on strength but on strategy,” said KJS Sujlana, another speaker.