NEW DELHI: Taking steps to evacuate Indians stranded overseas, the Indian Navy on Tuesday launched 'Operation Samudra Setu' (Sea Bridge) sending naval ships Jalashwa and Magar to the Port of Malè, Republic of Maldives.
“The Operation Samudra Setu will commence evacuation operations from 08 May 2020 as part of Phase-1,” Navy officials said.
A total of 1000 persons are planned to be evacuated during the first trip, catering for coronavirus-related social distancing norms vis-a-vis the carrying capacity and medical facilities available onboard. The Indian Mission in the Republic of Maldives is preparing a list of Indian nationals to be evacuated by Naval ships and will facilitate their embarkation after the requisite medical screening.
Sources informed that INS Jalashwa which is the bigger ship will reach Male on May 8 and INS Magar will reach on May 10. The Navy has been directed to make suitable preparations for their evacuation by sea.
INS Jalashwa (Landing Platform Dock or LPD) has a full load displacement of 17,521 tonnes and INS Magar (Landing Platform Tank) is an amphibious warfare vessel with a displacement of 5,750 tonnes. Both the ships are suitably provisioned for the evacuation operation.
The evacuated personnel would be provided with the basic amenities and medical facilities during the sea-passage. In view of the unique challenges associated with COVID-19, stringent protocols have also been stipulated.
The evacuated personnel will be disembarked at Kochi, Kerala and entrusted to the care of State authorities. This operation is being progressed in close coordination with Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Health and various other agencies of the Government of India and State governments.