At a time when the country is facing severe shortage of oxygen to treat critical Covid-19 patients, the Indian Navy has again launched Operation Samudra Setu to help in faster transportation of medical oxygen and other requirements from other countries.
Navy spokesman said Indian Naval warships have been deployed to undertake shipment of liquid medical oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment to support nation’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
INS Kolkata and INS Talwar have entered port of Manama in Bahrain for embarking and transporting 40MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) to Maharashtra’s capital city Mumbai. INS Jalashwa is enroute to Bangkok, while INS Airavat to Singapore for similar missions.
Operation Samudra Setu was firstly launched in May last year as part of the Vande Bharat Mission to bring nearly 4,000 Indians back home from countries such as Maldives, Sri Lanka and Iran amid the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. The Operation was undertaken by the Indian Navy in close coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, Union Home Ministry, Health Ministry and various other agencies of central and state governments.
Earlier, the Indian Navy ships under Headquarters, Southern Naval Command at Kochi were progressing with the mission of ‘Oxygen Express’ in order to render support to the local administration of Lakshadweep.
To assist the civil administration to fight against Covid-19 at the island of Kadmat, a Naval contingent comprising one doctor, two medical assistants and one additional sailor also reached Kadmat on April 25. “The personnel have been deputed from SNC, Kochi as well as from INS Dweeprakshak, Kavaratti," he said.
“On April 25, INS Sharda, based at Kochi, undertook transfer of essential medical supplies to Lakshadweep, Kavaratti. The stores consisted of 35 oxygen cylinders, rapid antigen detection test kits, PPE kits, masks and other items to fight the Covid-19 pandemic," the spokesman said.
He said that the Navy also reserved ten beds including ICU facilities for patients from Lakshadweep at INHS Sanjivani, Kochi to cater for shortages in beds at the islands.
Naval Air Station INS Garuda were also been placed on alert to extend Naval airfield facilities for UTL helicopters ferrying patients.
In Mumbai, three Naval hospitals under Western Naval Command (WNC), INHS Jeevanti, Goa, INHS Patanjali, Karwar and INHS Sandhani, Mumbai have been kept ready a few Covid oxygen beds for use by the civil administration.
“INHS Patanjali, the first Armed Forces hospital to treat civilian Covid-19 patients last year, is prepared to receive civilian Covid patients if there is any emergent requirement," he said.
The Naval teams at Goa also set up community kitchens during first wave of Covid-19 and are prepared to provide similar help as and when required.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Naval Area has offered support to the civil administration for transport of critical medical stores/equipment to the Covid affected areas, setting up of community kitchens for the poor and other technical help as may be necessitated.