Port of London Authority






> Safe paddling guide

> Ready Mercury – new
   MBNA Thames clipper

> Visiting Indian frigate
   draws a crowd

> Dockland artefacts and a
   mummified cat – The
   Museum of London

> Stand-up Bill’s a
   stand-up guy

> Round-the-world yacht
   visits London

> Thames Skills Academy

> Tilbury

> London Gateway


What have a legendary batsman, a souped-up Indian frigate and a London seapilot got in common?

All three were part of an event celebrating Britain’s ties with India, and it drew thousands of visitors to the tidal Thames.

The Indian Navy’s impressive INS Tarkash was guided in and out of West India Quay by four of our pilots, for a four-day stay.

One of two pilots who did the inbound journey, was our long-serving Darshan Tampi. Originally from the Indian state of Kerala, Darshan was proud and thrilled to take temporary control of the 125 metre-long, helicopter-bearing battleship from the North East Spit to Gravesend, before handing responsibility for its safe navigation to river pilot Mark Duhig.

When she reached her east London berth, crowds of cheering UK-based Indians were there to greet her arrival. Not only that, former Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar stepped on board.

Darshan said: “I was very pleased
to get the chance to pilot Tarkash
and actually asked for the job.

“She is an impressive ship and the job was very straightforward, even
if the bridge was a little busy with people.

Communicating with the crew was not a problem at all, as everyone spoke English. There were one or two words of Hindi, luckily I can speak it.”

Darshan was presented with a baseball cap and fruit basket to mark his visit, but wasn’t able to meet the second-best test batsman of all time. And, having worked at the PLA for 19 years, Darshan was especially pleased to do the job as two of his brothers are retired Indian naval officers.

During her London stay, Tarkash undertook various training exercises with the Royal Navy. Classified as a “Stealth Frigate”, she was built in Russia and carries anti-air missiles and anti-submarine weapons, among other formidable weaponry.

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