An ode to the ancient mariner

Updated: Sep 26, 2019, 08:30 IST | Snigdha Hasan | Mumbai

The century-old Marine Museum in Nhava is a treasure trove of India's seafaring heritage spanning 4,000 years. On World Maritime Day, we bring you some jewels of the sea

A replica of HMS Minden, built by the Wadia family, aboard which the American national anthem was composed. Pics/Sameer Markande
A replica of HMS Minden, built by the Wadia family, aboard which the American national anthem was composed. Pics/Sameer Markande

For a city that got its name from the Portuguese Bom Bahia or the good bay, the story of its evolution is inseparable from that of how the sea has watched over it, allowing itself to be reclaimed, and its waters providing a natural harbour for countless vessels.

marineHaroon Yusuf

On World Maritime Day today, we bring you a slice of Mumbai’s seafaring history through the Marine Museum tucked away inside the quaint, verdant campus of Training Ship Rahaman in Nhava near Ulwe in Navi Mumbai, a nautical training institute owned by the Yusuf family. Based in Worli, they have strengthened their association with India’s seafaring community in various capacities; first by starting the Bombay Steam Navigation Company (BSNC)  in 1865, and then, through the maritime training facility that Sir Mohamed Yusuf founded in 1910.

marineCaptain (Dr) A Apandkar

The 107-year-old museum is India’s oldest maritime museum, and I am here to meet its curator Pruthvi Rangnekar. “It was Sadashiv Gorakshakar, the then director of the erstwhile Prince of Wales Museum, who was instrumental in developing the museum,” Rangnekar informs. We start with the Heritage Gallery, which depicts Indian shipping through the ages with replicas of Harappan seals featuring maritime motifs, reproductions of manuscripts from the Mughal period with mentions of sea trade, etc. A section is dedicated to models of important ships built in Bombay’s dockyards.

marinePruthvi Rangnekar

The thoughtful display extends to the first floor where the history of Nhava and its acquisition by the ONGC is intertwined with BSNC’s history, while the second floor showcases the family’s prized possessions. The walkthrough ends in a marine ecology section.

marineOld navigation equipment and maritime uniforms on display at the museum. 

Haroun Yusuf, chairman, Sir Mohamed Yusuf Seamen Welfare Foundation, shares, “We plan to make a visit to the campus a day-long experience in the future, with a walk through the surrounding mangroves as well as the museum.” A fitting day out for residents of a city nurtured by the sea.   


boatThe first floor houses maritime signal flags; the Heritage Gallery 

Did you know?

 The theme for this World Maritime Day is empowering women in the merchant navy. “This is because of the skewed male-female ratio in the sector,” informs Captain (Dr) Ashutosh Apandkar, principal, TS Rahaman.

At TS Rahaman, Nhava; 8.30 am to 5.30 pm (shut on Tuesdays)
How to reach It takes 30 minutes by road from CBD Belapur
Call 27212800
Entry Rs 25

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