New Delhi: After the Indian Air Force (IAF), Navy vessels have been put on standby and may be deployed to assist in the transportation of liquid oxygen tankers and other Covid-19 relief material from overseas.

Heavy lift ships in the Gulf and those close to South East Asian countries have been directed to check readiness for such operations, said sources in the Indian Navy.

With hospitals in parts of the country running short of medical oxygen due to lack of containers, the IAF has airlifted 14 containers from overseas till now— four each from Singapore and Bangkok and six from Dubai.

The Indian Navy has been asked to remain on standby to augment the oxygen supply and ensure there is no shortage as Covid-19 cases continue to surge. The need for a steady supply of oxygen is a must for the long haul, sources added.

The Navy has been ensuring a steady supply of Covid relief material to the islands of Lakshadweep that hold strategic importance for India.

The ships have more capacity to carry oxygen containers and will supplement the efforts of the IAF.

On April 26, a C17 aircraft of the IAF airlifted six empty cryogenic oxygen containers from Dubai and landed at Panagarh in West Bengal the same evening. Another C17 aircraft of IAF airlifted four empty containers from Bangkok and landed at Panagarh early morning on April 27.

Another C-17 flew to Dubai on April 27 to airlift more containers. Earlier, the IAF had airlifted four containers from Singapore.

The IAF also airlifted cryogenic oxygen container from Baroda to Ranchi, two containers from Pune to Jamnagar, two from Bhopal to Jamnagar, three from Jaipur to Jamnagar, three from Indore and Bhopal to Jamnagar and one from Hindan to Panagarh.