The Indian Navy has launched ‘Operation Samudra Setu-II’ to meet the country’s oxygen requirement amid the surge in Covid-19 cases in the second wave and the acute shortage of liquid medical oxygen (LMO)

As a part of the operation, the Navy has deployed INS (Indian Navy Ships) Kolkata, Kochi, Talwar, Tabar, Trikand, Jalashwa and Airavat for shipment of oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment from various countries.

The first batch of the ships, INS Kolkata and INS Talwar, deployed in Persian Gulf, were immediately diverted for the task, and entered the port of Manama, Bahrain, on April 30. INS Talwar is likely to reach India with 40 MT (metric tonnes) LMO on May 4. INS Kolkata has proceeded to Doha, Qatar, for medical supplies, and will head to Kuwait to bring liquid oxygen tanks, said naval spokesperson commander Mehul Karnik.

Similarly on the eastern seaboard, INS Airavat, too, has been diverted for the task and will enter Singapore to bring liquid oxygen tanks. INS Jalashwa, the LPD (landing platform/dock) which played a key role during operation Samudra Setu last year, was pulled out of maintenance, prepared and is on stand-by in the region to embark medical stores at a short notice, the Navy has mentioned in its press release.

The second batch of ships comprising INS Kochi, Trikand and Tabar, deployed in Arabian Sea, have also been diverted to join the national effort. From the Southern Naval Command, the landing ship tank, INS Shardul, is being readied to join the operation by Monday, commander Karnik added.

Apart from this, Indian Air Force aircraft C-17 has carried out several sorties from within the country and abroad to supply oxygen tankers to different places to assist the civil administration dealing with oxygen shortage for Covid-19 patients. Three oxygen tankers were airlifted from Bangkok to Jamnagar on April 28, while one was lifted from Agra to Ranchi, and another from Chandigarh to Ranchi, said Karnik. Two oxygen tankers were airlifted by C-17 aircraft from Indore to Raipur and Bhopal to Surat last week.

Operation Samudra Setu was launched last year by the Navy to rescue Indian citizens stranded in neighbouring countries amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Around 4,000 stranded citizens were successfully brought back to India, said commander Karnik.