January 16, 2022
25-year-old Haritha KK from Ezhupunna panchayat, Alappuzha, Kerala, has become India’s first woman captain of fishing vessels. Haritha had always wanted to join the navy, but she was disqualified during the physical tests. Thereafter, she decided to do her bachelor’s degree in fishing and nautical science from the Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training in Kochi. With a degree in hand, she started off as a deckhand on a training vessel and spent 180 days sailing. Over time, she did some ancillary courses to prepare for the mate of fishing vessels examination that would allow her to become a mate or chief officer, the second-in-command on a fishing vessel. She cleared that in October 2017 and became the first Indian woman to do so. Since then, she has sailed for 450 days in two years, led a crew of 21 members and even sailed through the India-Lakshadweep coast.