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Home > Discover Mumbai > Sight Seeing > Mumbai > KNS Shujaa

 KNS Shujaa at the IFR in Mumbai 

'Hakoona Matata'- Mumbai welcomes Kenyan ships

Click on the pictures below for an enlarged view

IFR logoThe waters off the Mumbai coast wear a mood of revelry. Naval officers and cadets in starched white uniforms move around with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Inside the Tiger Gate of the Western Naval Command trees bereft of leaves are adorned with colorful lights. A multitude of submarines resembling lazy dolphins float the warm waters. Large orange, green and white checks form part of thdecor for the area welcoming the delegates. Indian curio shops with pashmina shawls, inlay work, ethnic wooden sculptures, trinkets and artifact are a contributing of the Cottage Emporium forInternational Fleet Review the show. Abuzz with activity are the middle ground (during the British time naval batteries were fitted here and used for firing), which will fire the 21 gun salutes for the President of India and the Oyster Rock (a security point) also painted pristine white. That's the International Fleet Review for you, off the Mumbai coastline, a pride of the Indian Navy.

Kenyan Fleet Commander, Col J H Mutungi aboard KNS NyayoThe Mumbai waters will soon have 24 foreign ships swaying to the undulations of the Indian ocean. Six majestic vessels, 2 Kenyan, 2 Omani, a Mauritian and an Indonesian have already anchored according to the formations designated for the Fleet Review. Twelve others, Russian, Polish, Iranian, American, Australian, Bangladeshi, Japanese, Singaporean and Malaysian will take their place today.

Interestingly the Sri Lankan ship, INS Sarayu, expected for Two Kenyan ships, KNS Nyayoand  KNS Shujaa, part of the fleet reviewthe Fleet Review was an old ship sold to Sri Lanka by India. The Singapore ship 'Endurance' is commanded by a Sardar and is expected to bring in relief material for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake. Even the Kenyan ship, KNS Shujaa once was manned by an Indian officer, Ajit Kelly. tours the ship-laden waters and goes aboard the Kenyan ship, KNS Shujaa, to meet the crew.

An officer and a gentleman - Commanding officer, L Gituma"There are a large community of Indians in Kenya and we have over the years maintained good bilateral relations between the two countries. Many of our Kenyan naval officers have trained at the Navigation School at Cochin and the Maritime Engineering School at Pune," says the stout Kenyan Fleet Commander, Col J H Mutungi, who trained at the Naval War College in England. The two Kenyan ships, KNS Shujaa, which stands for 'Bravery' and KNS Nyayo, which means 'Follow the Presidential Footsteps' left Mumbasa on Jan 28, 2001, sailed through Somalia and Oman, before coming to India. "We faced a lot of rough weather on the way, which is the reason for the peeling of grey paint on the sides of the ship," says Commanding Officer of KNS Shujaa, L Gituma, who has 12 officers onboard the ship. The ship will make its way to Goa, be back in Mumbai and then sail via Oman, Seychelles on its return to Mombassa after the Fleet Review.

A gunner atop an Indonesian ship "KNS Shujaa, a missile guided patrol boat was built in 1997 in Spain, while the patrol boat KNS Nyayo was built in the United Kingdom. Both our ships do not carry any missiles and have exceptional endurance and sea-keeping quality," adds Col Mutungi proudly. The vessel Shuja also offers practical and professional training onboard to officers.

The submarine, INS Sindhushastra as she floats majesticallyWhen asked about their visit to India, the officers said in unison, "We are proud to be part of the International Fleet Review here and are excited about exploring the city of Mumbai." The Kenyan naval crew will be in the city for 5 days after the review and plan to check out the night life and the must-see places Mumbai has to offer. "I have visited the Hanging Gardens and drank coconut water at Chowpatty beach," one of the officers pipes in excitedly and adds, "We do not have problem of food in India, because back home in Kenya we also make chappatis and paranthas and most of the Indian non-veg dishes are similar to Kenyan ones, only less spicy."

While the polished faces of the sun-burnt Kenyan officers look eagerly at the concrete landscape of Mumbai city, we welcome them to savour our 'Aamchi Mumbai Masala.'

By: Anupama Vinayak
Photographer: Vinayak Prabhu

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