The search and rescue (SAR) operations by the Southern Naval Command continued for the eighth consecutive day on Thursday over the southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep and Minicoy (L&M) Islands after cyclone Ockhi created havoc in the Indian coastal regions.
Nine naval ships and four types of aircraft, including P8I surveillance aircraft, Dornier aircraft, Seaking and ALH helicopters, continued to be deployed for the operations in order to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) material support. INS Jamuna provided fresh water in excess of 12,000 litres at Kavaratti, even as the repair work on damaged desalination plant continued. The ship would be providing fresh water to the island for next five days.
The rescue materials brought by INS Sharda, which reached Minicoy on Thursday morning, will be delivered tomorrow due to non-availability of barge. The naval ship carried fresh water, medicines, food, clothing and blankets along with other essentials items like emergency lights, petrol, portable 10 KVA power generators, UPS, rechargeable torches, tarpaulin, electrical tool kits, boiler suits and a Public address (PA) system with speakers.
A stranded Singapore registered Tug “Bes Power” was discovered 35 miles off Minicoy by INS Shardul, which had exhausted its entire fuel after it ran into bad weather due to the cyclone. The Tug, which was on passage from Oman to Maldives, was transferred 45 tonnes of fuel by the naval ship.
While INS Kalpeni could not find any fishing vehicles or survivours, INS Kabra continued its planned search operations over the southeast Arabian Sea. Meanwhile, normalcy is being restored on a war footing at Minicoy with the naval contingent working day and night.
A relief camp was also established to distribute the materials ferried by naval ships to all 11 villages through their ‘Moopans’ (village heads), as requested by the administration of Lakshadweep. Other maintenance activities including clearing of fallen trees, cleaning of jetty area premises, Navodaya School, relief camp and fisheries department premises are also being undertaken in full vigour by the naval personnel.
The Coast Guard ship Abhinav provided a 15-member fishing boat with fresh water and provisions after word of it requiring assistance reached the officials.
Earlier in the day, two dead bodies were recovered by Coast Guard Ship Vaibhav about 100 nautical miles off Alappuzha, which was being handed over at Vizhinjam. A total of 12 ships, including two from Mumbai and two types of aircraft, are also being employed by the Coast Guard for enable operations.