While a student at Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training (CIFNET), K K Haritha (26) was addressed as ‘Captain’ by a teacher. Haritha, daughter of Kunjappan and Sudharma of Kaithakkuzhi, Eramalloor in Alappuzha, liked the term and strove hard to make it a reality.
She has now realized her dream and is the first woman to captain a fishing research ship in India.
Before that, in 2016, she joined as a deck hand in ‘Prasikshana’, a fisheries training ship of CIFNET. In 2017, she cleared a ‘Mate of fishing vessel’ course conducted by Mercantile Marine Department under the Director General of Shipping.
In fact, she was the only woman to attempt the exam, which enables a sailor to be the chief officer of a fishing vessel. She subsequently spent 450 fishing days on ‘Lavanika’, a vessel of the Fisheries Survey of India and ‘Prasikshana’, before clearing the test to become a skipper.
Her first ship as captain was Lavanika. Haritha is now a trainee officer at Synergy Maritime, a merchant navy company.