Seven naval ships have been deployed to bring liquid medical oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment from various countries. Naval ships Kolkata, Kochi, Talwar, Tabar, Trikand, Jalashwa and Airavat have been deployed as part of operation Samudra Setu II.
A grim second wave of the pandemic has overwhelmed hospitals leaving families to scramble for scarce medicines and oxygen for their infected relatives.
Operation Samudra Setu-II has been launched by the navy to meet the oxygen requirements in the country.
INS Kolkata and INS Talwar, the first batch of ships that were diverted for the task, have already entered the Port of Manama in Bahrain on Friday.
While INS Talwar is on its way back with 40 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen, INS Kolkata has proceeded to Doha, Qatar for embarking medical supplies and will subsequently head to Kuwait for embarking Liquid Oxygen tanks.
On the Eastern seaboard, INS Airavat has been diverted for the task, while INS Jalashwa – the Landing Platform Dock or LPD – which played a key role during operation Samudra Setu last year, has been pulled out of maintenance, readied and sailed out to augment the effort. Airavat is scheduled to enter Singapore to carry liquid oxygen tanks while Jalashwa is standing by in the region to embark medical stores at a short notice.
The second batch of ships – Kochi, Trikand and Tabar – have also been diverted to join the national effort.
From the Southern Naval Command, the Landing Ship Tank INS Shardul is also being readied to join the operation within 48 hours.
The navy also has the surge capability to deploy more ships if the need arises, an official statement said.
The navy had launched Operation Samudra Setu last year, as part of the Vande Bharat Mission, repatriating around 4,000 Indian citizens stranded in neighbouring countries due to the COVID-19 outbreak.