COVID-19: Indian Navy deploys seven warships to bring liquid oxygen from abroad

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Indian Navy has surged its operational commitments towards the country’s fight against the COVID pandemic. While seven Indian Navy Ships were deployed by Saturday for Operation Samudra Setu II more are being prepared to join soon.

Giving details of deployment Commander Vivek Madhwal said, “In support of the nation’s fight against Covid-19 and as part of operation ‘Samudra Setu II’, seven Indian Naval ships viz. Kolkata, Kochi, Talwar, Tabar, Trikand, Jalashwa, and Airavat have been deployed for shipment of liquid medical oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment from various countries.”

Also, the Navy has kept enough room to add to the operations as per the future needs said Madhwal. “Indian Navy also has the surge capability, to deploy more ships when the need arises to further nation’s fight against COVID-19,” he said.

From the Southern Naval Command, the Landing Ship Tank INS Shardul is being readied to join the Operation within 48 hours, added the Navy. Similarly, on the Eastern seaboard, INS Airavat too has been diverted for the task, while INS Jalashwa, the LPD which played a key role during op Samudra Setu last year was pulled out of maintenance, readied, and sailed out to augment the effort.

INS Kolkata, Kochi, Talwar, Tabar, and Trikand are part of the Western Naval Command. INS Kolkata and INS Talwar, mission deployed in the Persian Gulf, were the first batch of ships that were immediately diverted for the task and entered the port of Manama, Bahrain on 30 April 2021.

As for the details of the task, INS Talwar, with 40 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO), is headed back home. INS Kolkata has proceeded to Doha, Qatar for embarking on medical supplies and will subsequently head to Kuwait for embarking on Liquid Oxygen tanks.

INS Airavat is scheduled to enter Singapore for embarking on Liquid oxygen tanks and INS Jalashwa is standing by in the region to embark on medical stores at short notice. The second batch of ships comprising Kochi, Trikand, and Tabar mission deployed in the Arabian sea has also been diverted to join the national effort.

But, the diversion of such a large number of mission deployed ships has not taken place at the cost of operational preparedness. 

Commander Madhwal said, “Indian Naval ships continue to maintain the combat readiness and operational deployment. the flexibility and capability of a role change of a ‘mission deployed’ ship enables Indian Navy to react to any situation which is being built up and therefore is able to rapidly re-deploy to meet any contingencies such as the present requirement.”

Indian Air Force has committed its 50 aircraft and 20 helicopters for the same task.

It may be recalled that Operation Samudra Setu was launched last year by the Navy and around 4000 Indian citizens stranded in neighboring countries, amidst COVID 19 outbreak, were successfully repatriated back to India.