Intensifying its efforts, the Indian Navy has deployed nine warships to bring liquid oxygen and other medical supplies from several countries in Persian Gulf and south-east Asia as hospitals across India continued to reel under acute shortage of the life-saving gas following a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Navy on Wednesday said these warships from all three naval commands in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kochi have been deployed to bring oxygen and other medical equipment.
“The deployment of nine warships as part of ‘Operation Samudra Setu II’ forms a part of the multiple lines of effort, by the government of India and the Indian Navy to supplement the oxygen requirement in the country," Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
He said Indian Naval ship Talwar has already entered New Mangalore port in Karnataka on Wednesday, ferrying two 27 tons liquid oxygen tanks from Bahrain.
Similarly INS Kolkata has departed Kuwait carrying two tanks of 27 tonne oxygen, 400 oxygen cylinders and 47 oxygen concentrators.
In addition, four warships are also enroute to Qatar and Kuwait, to bring nine 27-tonne oxygen tanks and more than 1500 oxygen cylinders from these countries.
“On the eastern seaboard, Indian Naval ship Airavat, departed Singapore today with more than 3,600 oxygen cylinders, eight 27 tonne (total 216 tonnes) oxygen tanks, 10,000 rapid antigen detection kits and seven oxygen concentrators," he said.
Madhwal said another ship, INS Jalashwa, remains deployed in the region, standing by to embark medical stores at short notice.
“INS Shardul, the landing ship tank of the Southern naval command at Kochi, is also on its way to Persian Gulf to bring three liquid oxygen-filled cryogenic containers," he said.
Last year, Indian Navy had launched Operation Samudra Setu as part of the Vande Bharat evacuation mission under which it brought back to India around 4,000 stranded Indians from Maldives, Sri Lanka and Iran.
As India battles a devastating second wave of coronavirus pandemic, countries around the world have been sending medical supplies including oxygen-related equipment to help it tide over the situation.
The leading countries that have announced assistance to India include the US, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Singapore, Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand, Kuwait and Mauritius.