INS Magar Returns to God's Own Country with 202 Repatriates
INS Magar deployed by Indian Navy for next phase of repatriation of Indian citizens from Maldives as part of Operation Samudra Setu under the Vande Bharat Mission entered Kochi PM 12 May 2020, along with 202 Indian nationals which include 23 women and three children. The ship had sailed from Maldives late evening on 10 May, and despite the inclement weather and rough seas, the ship's crew has left no stone unturned to ensure the comfort of the Indian nationals brought onboard, mostly from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The repatriation was conducted in accordance with standard operating procedure (SOP) prepared by the central government and factoring all possible contingencies. All precautions for infection control on ships, in conjunction with isolation and quarantine protocols for crew were ensured. On closing Kochi, INS Magar was greeted by three ships from Southern Naval Command, Kochi, undertaking surveillance missions off the coast of Kerala.
The Ship was received at the Samudrika Cruise Terminal, by the officials from State Government, District Administration and Port Trust who had streamlined the elaborate process of all mandatory health and immigration procedures and made extensive arrangements for speedy disembarkation, health screening, immigration and transportation for the evacuated Indian nationals.
INS Magar commanded by Commander Varun Panicker, a native of Changanacherry, Kerala, is a Landing Ship Tank. She is the lead ship of her class and has an illustrious history in rendering Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR.) She was indigenously built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd, Kolkata. The amphibious ship has undergone modification for training role. The ship had undertaken appropriate logistic, medical and administrative preparations at her base port Kochi prior to the mission.
With the completion of the first phase of Vande Bharat mission, Indian Navy has successfully brought back a total of 900 (698 by INS Jalashwa earlier) Indian nationals from Maldives. Indian Navy's “Operation Samudra Setu” truly epitomises India's efforts in providing succour to our nationals as envisaged under Vande Bharat Mission.
INS Jalashwa would be proceeding to Maldives for the next phase of repatriation of approx. 700 Indian nationals commencing 15 May 2020.