Indian Navy launches ‘Samudra Setu-II’, deploys ships to bring medical oxygen

The Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu II to speed up the process of transporting medical oxygen and other associated medical equipment from various countries to India amidst the country’s worsening Covid_19 situation.

As part of the operation, the Indian Navy has deployed seven naval ships for the shipment of liquid oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and other associated medical equipment to meet oxygen requirements in the country. These warships are Kolkata, Kochi, Talwar, Tabar, Trikand, Jalashwa, and Airavat.

Since transporting oxygen-filled tanks by air is risky, all such containers carried on planes around the country are empty. As a result, the naval activity takes centre stage alongside the Railways’ ongoing efforts.

The INS Kolkata and INS Talwar were the first ships to be diverted for the task, as per the Defense Ministry, and arrived in Bahrain’s port of Manama on April 30.

The INS Talwar is returning to India with 40 metric tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) on board, bound for Mumbai, Maharashtra’s capital. The INS Kolkata is deployed to Doha, Qatar, to embark medical supplies, and will then proceed to Kuwait to embark Liquid Oxygen tanks, said the official statement.

On the Eastern seaboard, INS Airavat was diverted for the operation, while INS Jalashwa was taken out of maintenance and sailed out to Bangkok on similar missions.

INS Kochi, INS Trikand, and INS Tabar, the second batch of ships stationed in the Arabian sea, have also been diverted to assist the national effort, as per the statement.

From the Southern Naval Command, the landing ship tank INS Shardul is being readied to join the Operation within 48 hours.

“The navy also has the surge capability to deploy more ships if the need arises,” the official statement said.

As part of the Vande Bharat Mission, Operation Samudra Setu was first launched in May last year to repatriate nearly 4,000 Indians back home from neighbouring countries such as the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Iran in the wake of Covid_19 pandemic. The Indian Navy carried out the operation in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Union Home Ministry, the Ministry of Health, and other government agencies.