Since April 22, 2021, the heavy lift transport fleet of IAF has been airlifting empty cryogenic oxygen tankers to their filling stations in India.
Three empty cryogenic containers have been airlifted from Jamnagar to Al Maktoum, Dubai, onboard an IL-76 transport aircraft of Indian Air Force (IAF).
These containers have been coordinated by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and are on their way to Dubai to be filled by up with Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and these will come back to India by sea route.
Why were they airlifted?
These empty containers have been airlifted to reduce the timelines of transportation.
Since April 22, 2021, the heavy lift transport fleet of IAF has been airlifting empty cryogenic oxygen tankers to their filling stations in India. Once these tankers are filled they need to be transported to their destinations not by air but through rail or road. And, for overseas airlift too, the IAF is merely airlifting empty tankers and cylinders from one location and dropping it at its destination. This helps in saving critical time.
Once the tankers are filled international, then the Indian Navy deploys its warships to carry them back to India.
As has been reported earlier in Financial Express Online, warships have been deployed to carry back liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from the Gulf countries including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE.
Op Samudra Setu II
INS Jalashwa deployed
The official spokesperson of the Indian Navy has confirmed to Financial Express Online that, “For the first time in Operation Samudra Setu II, its Landing platform Dock (LPD) INS Jalashwa has been deployed to get back medical relief supplies from to Brunei & Singapore.”
From Southern Naval Command another warship INS Shardul, the Landing Ship Tank, on its first trip to the Gulf region has already picked up 120 MT of LMO from Kuwait and is now on its way to the Port of Fujairah, UAE to get relief material before heading back to India. In total it is expected to get three LMO filled cryogenic containers.
INS Airavat completed one trip to Singapore and is back with the relief material which included eight 27 ton (216 tons) oxygen tanks, 3600 oxygen cylinders, 7 oxygen concentrators and around 10000 Rapid Antigen Detection Test Kits.
Update of the Op Samudra Setu II
Earlier this month on May 1, INS Talwar picked up 40 MT of LMO from Bahrain.
On May 4, INS Kolkata picked 200 oxygen cylinders from Doha, Qatar.
40 MT of LMO from Doha on May 5.
Then, between May 6-8, INS Trikhand and INS Tarkash picked up 80 MT of LMO from Doha, Qatar. These supplies were arranged by the French company Air Liquide from their oxygen plant based in Qatar.
On May 6, INS Kochi and INS Tabar returned to India with 140 MT of LMO and 1400 oxygen cylinders from Kuwait.
This year all the warships of the Indian Navy have been crisscrossing the Persian Gulf as well as the Indian Ocean Region to pick up critical supplies to help India fight against the surging numbers of COVID-19 patients.
In 2020, INS Jalashwa and INS Shardul, were deployed to repatriate stranded Indian citizens from abroad under Operation Samudra Setu.