Indian Navy deploys warships to bring medical oxygen from abroad

New Delhi: The Indian Navy on Friday launched a special operation to bring oxygen-filled cryogenic containers from abroad as hospitals across India are reeling under an acute shortage of medical oxygen as a result of sky-rocketing COVID-19 infections. Initially, the Indian Navy warships are bringing oxygen from Bahrain, Singapore and Thailand, officials said.

Two ships, INS Kolkata and INS Talwar have already entered the Manama port in Bahrain to bring 40 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen to Mumbai, they said. Another ship, INS Jalashwa, is en route to Bangkok while INS Airavat is leaving for Singapore for similar missions, the officials said.

"Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu-II to augment the ongoing national mission for meeting the oxygen requirements," Indian Navy spokesperson, Commander Vivek Madhwal, said. "Mission deployed Indian Naval warships will undertake shipment of liquid oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment in support of the nation's fight against COVID-19," he added.

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Last year, the Indian Navy had launched Operation Samudra Setu as part of the Vande Bharat evacuation mission under which it brought back to the country around 4,000 stranded Indians from Maldives, Sri Lanka and Iran.

In the last few days, the Indian Air Force has already airlifted empty cryogenic oxygen containers from Dubai and Singapore as part of efforts to augment the government's efforts to augment oxygen supply and distribution infrastructure.

ALSO READ: IAF airlifts 13 empty cryogenic oxygen tankers from Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai

Though India is facing a severe shortage of medical oxygen, the IAF brought empty tanks as containers filled with oxygen are highly combustible and may pose a risk to the planes. 

As India battles a devastating second wave of coronavirus pandemic, countries around the world have announced sending medical supplies to help it tide over the situation.

The leading countries that have announced assistance to India include the US, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Singapore, Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand, Kuwait and Mauritius.

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