Navy ship INS Shardul begins evacuation of Indians from Iran to Porbandar

INS Jalashwa and INS Magar have already evacuated 2,874 personnel from Maldives and Sri Lanka | File photo of INS Jalashwa
Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shardul on Monday started the process of evacuating Indians from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Probandar in Gujarat, said the Navy.

The evacuation is part of Operation Samudra Setu, which is itself a part of the Vande Bharat Mission that began in early May to bring back stranded Indians from abroad amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.

INS Jalashwa and INS Magar have already evacuated 2,874 personnel from Maldives and Sri Lanka to ports of Kochi and Tuticorin, the Navy said in its statement.

"In the next phase of Samudra Setu, Indian Naval Ship Shardul will evacuate Indian citizens on 8 June 2020 from the port of Bandar Abbas, Islamic Republic of Iran, to Porbandar, Gujarat," the Navy stated.

"The Indian Mission in Islamic Republic of Iran is preparing a list of Indian citizens to be evacuated and will facilitate their embarkation after requisite medical screening," it added.

Operation Samudra Setu began on May 8.

Covid-related social distancing norms have been created on board INS Shardul and the ship has been especially provisioned for the evacuation operation, including embarkation of additional medical staff, rations, personal protective equipment, masks, lifesaving gear, the Navy said.

The evacuated personnel would be provided the basic amenities and medical facilities whilst undertaking the sea passage to Porbandar, it stated.

"Special isolation compartments have also been earmarked for any contingencies. In view of the unique challenges associated with Covid-19, including asymptomatic carriers, stringent protocols are being stipulated during the passage," it added.

After disembarkation at Porbandar, the evacuated personnel will be entrusted to the care of state authorities, it said.

More than 256,000 have been infected and around 7,100 people have died due to the deadly virus in India till now.

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