Radhika Menon Is The First Woman Captain To Be Awarded For Exceptional Bravery At Sea. This Is A Story Of Courage And Inspiration
The way we’ve been brought up in the world, is with a society conditioning us to put the men on a higher pedestal than us claiming jobs that supposedly shape the world, while we are reduced to jobs that enable them and make their lives easy. From being told how we are supposed to be the home makers, we have always been relegated to the background, but no longer. We are conquering the ground, the sky and the sea. And we say this after coming across yet another woman, who isn’t just breaking stereotypes but also giving us another reason to show to the world, that women are done sitting on the sidelines. Meet Radhika Menon, the first woman to receive the award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.
Born and raised in the Kodungallur district of Kerala, Radhika Menon has been a revelation in her profession, as she was also the first woman to get the title of captain in the Indian Merchant Navy, and now has considerably moved up in the ladder, getting honoured with the Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea from the International Maritime Organisation, after Menon managed to save the lives of about seven fisherman who had almost lost their lives at sea.
In 2019, a boat named, ‘Durgamma’ had its engine seize in the middle of the sea, with no potential for escape or immediate rescue. On board, the group of fisherman found themselves stranded far away from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, all the way across in Gopalpur, Odisha. It was then that Radhika Menon and her team, proactively jumped to the rescue of the men and managed to save the lives of everyone on board. It was a remarkable and courageous judgement call on Menon’s behalf, had came into the notice of many and secured her nomination by the Government of India for the award.
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Braving the stormy and dangerous waves at a height of over 25 ft. along with aggressive winds going at the speed of 60 knots, accompanied by harsh weather conditions and relentless rains, Menon traversed through the impossible odds to save the lives of civilians.
When asked about the incident that has redefined bravery for us and shut many people up with the kind of strength, tact and courage shown by a woman in the field, she said, “I am humbled, honoured and grateful. 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.” And it is heartening to see her commitment towards her job and selflessness towards people is being regarded and appreciated.
Clearly, we need more women like her and more men who believe in women like her. It is amazing to note that we live in the world of women and enigmas like Radhika Menon, who may be the first to be acknowledged for their professional prowess, but definitely won’t be the last, and the future looks promising.