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First Odisha woman officer onboard a vessel

PTI Kendrapara (Odisha) | Updated on January 27, 2013 Published on January 27, 2013

An Odisha girl has broken into the shipping sector which has mostly remained exclusive preserve of males. Twenty-eight-year-old Bibhusita Das lays claim to fame for being the first Odisha woman officer onboard a vessel.

Bibhusita, a marine engineer, who arrived in Paradip port recently with a coke carrying ship from Australia was felicitated by the Port trust. Das was recruited by the Shipping Corporation of India.

The publicity-shy woman has opted for onboard sailing along the rough and tough seawater almost throughout the year.

When Das, who hails from a family having no link with the shipping or marine sector, joined her first vessel in 2012, her master mariner was not impressed. She developed sea sickness.

“The mariners onboard thought that I have made a mistake to plunge into a rigorous profession. For being a woman, they felt that I may not withstand prolonged sailing and sea exposure. But I stuck to the task with tenacity and renewed vigour. I have proved them wrong,” she said.

Women are equally capable of doing what men do on the vessel. They simply need exposure. Though girls are shying away from marine engineering, it’s a challenging job that also befits fairer sex. However, one needs to be gritty to cope with the needs of the job, she said.

“Right from childhood days, I had developed fascination towards sea sailing. I loved reading stories on sea voyage and expeditions. I evinced keen interest in taking up career of marine engineering. My father Kurunakar Das, who retired from BSNL job last year, was very supportive. I had attained B Tech degree in marine engineering from a Bhubaneswar-based engineering institute (CV Raman).

I got the job of third engineer last year in Shipping Corporation of India, the country’s largest shipping company.

I opted for onboard sailing despite unwillingness from parents,’’ Das said.

Published on January 27, 2013
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