Navy warships, IAF aircraft bring in Covid-19 medicines and supplies - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Stuff.

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Monday, 10 May 2021

Navy warships, IAF aircraft bring in Covid-19 medicines and supplies

40 tonnes of French-donated oxygen shipped in from Qatar (Photo: INS Airavat sails into Visakhapatnam)

 

By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 11th May 21

 

The navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) have pressed into service aircraft, warships and personnel to transport medical supplies, especially badly needed oxygen, which is emerging as crucial for tackling the second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Indian Navy: Oxygen odyssee

 

In what has been dubbed “Operation Samudra Setu II” (Ocean Bridge II), the navy has deployed nine warships for Covid-19 relief operations, which include ferrying in Liquid Medical Oxygen and medical equipment from countries in West Asia and South-east Asia.

 

A stealth frigate, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Trikand, arrived in Mumbai on Monday, carrying cryogenic containers with 40 MT of Liquid Medical Oxygen from Hamad Port, Qatar. The frigate had docked in Qatar last Wednesday. 

 

The consignment of Liquid Medical Oxygen that INS Trikand brought back is part of the French mission -- “Oxygen Solidarity Bridge” – that Paris has instituted to support India’s fight against the second phase of the pandemic.

 

“This was the maiden voyage of trans-shipping of French Air Liquide containers from Qatar to India. The Indo-French initiative, facilitated by Deepak Mittal, Ambassador of India in Qatar, is likely to result in shipping of over 600 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen to India over the next two months,” stated the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

 

In addition, an amphibious warfare ship, INS Airavat, which had sailed from Singapore on Wednesday, arrived in Visakhapatnam on Monday with eight cryogenic oxygen tanks and other critical anti-Covid-19 medical stores, including 3,898 oxygen cylinders.

 

“The oxygen tanks and cylinders were sourced through various agencies in coordination with the High Commission of India [in Singapore],” said the MoD. 

 

Separately, INS Kochi, INS Tabar, INS Jalashwa and INS Shardul are expected back soon with medical stores, including oxygen tankers and cylinders, from friendly foreign countries.

 

Indian Air Force: vital sorties

 

By early Monday, IAF transport aircraft had completed 534 sorties across the country, airlifting 336 oxygen containers amounting to 6,420 metric tonnes (MT), as well as other medical supplies and equipment.

 

According to the MoD, “The cities covered are Jamnagar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Panagarh, Indore, Ranchi, Agra, Jodhpur, Begumpet, Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Surat, Raipur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Nagpur, Gwalior, Vijayawada, Baroda, Dimapur and Hindan.”

 

The IAF has positioned one C-130J Super Hercules and two AN-32 transport aircraft at Palam since April 28, in case there is an urgent need to airlift medical supplies, said the MoD.

 

IAF aircraft have also flown 84 international sorties, airlifting 81 cryogenic oxygen storage containers of total capacity of 1,407 MT, along with 1,252 empty oxygen cylinders, 705 oxygen concentrators and Zeolite – the raw material for producing respiratory oxygen.

 

“The equipment has been procured from Singapore, Dubai, Thailand, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Indonesia and Israel,” stated the MoD.

 

The distribution of relief aid coming from foreign countries is being coordinated from a Covid Air Support Management Cell (CASMC) that the IAF has been operating round the clock at Palam Air Base since April 27.

 

“Resources have been coordinated to cater for surge operations which include manpower, ground handling and loading eqpt and vehicles like flat top trailers and fork lifters,” stated the MoD.


  

Sailing to the rescue

 

Ship

Medical Supplies brought

Country/Port of origin

Arrival

 INS Airavat

 

 

Cryogenic oxygen tanks – 08

Oxygen cylinders – 3,898

Other critical COVID-19 medical stores 

Singapore

Visakhapatnam on May 10

 INS Trikand

40 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen cryogenic containers

Doha, Qatar

Mumbai on May 10

INS Kolkata

Oxygen Cylinders – 400

27 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen Containers – 02

Oxygen concentrators - 47

Doha, Qatar

&

Kuwait

New Mangalore Port on May 10

 INS Talwar

 27-MT oxygen containers – 02

Bahrain

New Mangalore Port on May 05

 




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