by Editorial

In the second such voyage in one week, the Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa, deployed for Operation Samudra Setu, entered the Kochi harbour on Sunday morning concluding her second trip to bring back Indians from Male. The Indian Navy tanker disembarked 588 Indian citizens, including 70 women (6 of them pregnant) and 21 children at the Samudrika Cruise Terminal, of Cochin Port Trust.

INS Jalashwa berthed alongside at Cochin Port Trust and was received by the personnel from Indian Navy, state government, district administration and port trust. Extensive arrangements were also made by the port authorities for streamlining the process of Covid-19 screening and immigration procedures as also by the civil administration for transportation for the evacuated Indian nationals to respective districts/ states for further quarantining.

INS Jalashwa had embarked Indian citizens at Male on 15 May 2020 as part of the Indian government’s national efforts to facilitate return of Indian citizens from foreign shores. The ship’s scheduled departure on 15 May was delayed due to inclement weather, accompanied by heavy rains and strong winds and the ship had departed Male on 16 May 2020. INS Jalashwa is one of the two ships deployed by Indian Navy under operation Samudra Setu.

Earlier this week, INS Magar, a landing ship tank of Indian Navy, repatriated Indian citizens from the Maldives as part of Operation Samudra Setu under the Vande Bharat Mission. It had reached Kochi on 12 May along with 202 Indian nationals which included 23 women and three children.

The ship had sailed from the Maldives late evening on 10 May, and despite the inclement weather and rough seas, the ship’s crew has left no stone unturned to ensure the comfort of the Indian nationals brought onboard, mostly from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The repatriation operations are being conducted in accordance with standard operating procedure (SOP) prepared by the Central government and factoring all possible contingencies.

All precautions for infection control on ships, in conjunction with isolation and quarantine protocols for crew are being ensured. The escort and support to these ships are also being given by the Indian Navy fleet. On closing Kochi, INS Magar was greeted by three ships from Southern Naval Command, Kochi, undertaking surveillance missions off the coast of Kerala. These ships had undertaken appropriate logistic, medical and administrative preparations at their base port Kochi prior to the mission. Indian Navy has so far successfully brought back more than 1,500 Indian nationals from the Maldives.

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