OP 'NISTAR' – Evacuation of Stranded Indians from Socotra, Yemen
In response to a distress call received from the DG shipping and the Indian Sailing Vessels Association, Indian Naval Ship Sunayna, currently deployed for a mission based deployment in the Gulf of Aden, was directed to evacuate 38 Indian nationals stranded on the Yemeni island of Socotra in the aftermath of cyclone Mekunu.
A very severe cyclonic storm Mekunu crossed the Yemeni Island of Socotra on 24 May 2018, leaving the 38 Indians stranded on the island with limited food and water. Also, three Indian dhows at Socotra suffered damages/ sank alongside in harbour and another Dhow, MSV Safina Al Khijar with 12 Indians onboard is reported to be missing.
Based on this information, the Indian Navy undertook two aerial sorties on 27 and 28 May 2018 to search for the missing Indians. INS Sunayna, deployed on a mission based deployment in the Gulf of Aden was pressed into action to evacuate the 38 Indian nationals from Socotra. The operation, code name 'Nistar' was carried out on the morning of 03 June 2018 off the coast of Socotra. The evacuated Indians were embarked onboard and immediately provided with medical care, food, water and telephone facilities to call and reassure their families at home. All 38 have been reported to be safe. Post evacuation, the ship would be proceeding towards Porbandar to disembark the Indians ashor.