By Joymala Bagchi
Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) [India], June 2 (ANI): Indian Navy's INS Jalashwa arrived at the V O Chidambaranar Port in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin at 10 am on Tuesday and has initiated the process of disembarkation of 685 stranded Indian nationals that it was carrying from Colombo.
The disembarkation sequence would begin with differently-abled people first followed by women and thereafter district-wise commencing with Chennai.
All the evacuees disembarking at Tuticorin port will undergo another round of medical check-ups at the port.
Yesterday the embarkation completed around 17:30 hours followed by registration and evacuees were escorted to their respective living areas, demarcated for male and female passengers. Jalashwa sailed at 1900 hours to repatriate the Indian nationals.
According to the onboard immigration list the evacuees consists of 557 male and 128 female including seven children, 36 elderly males and 15 elderly females.
However, four people were asked not to board the ship as they had body temperature higher than normal. "Despite being checked thrice with thermal scanners, two people had higher temperature. Moreover, one patient who required dialysis was also asked not to undertake the journey following medical condition considering his safety and safety of evacuees on board. His family (wife) too stayed back with him," Surgeon Lt Commander Prashant Jambunathan, principal medical officer, onboard the vessel told ANI.
One of the passengers who was on board said: "It feels great to be back home. We had a pleasant trip. We are grateful to Indian govt for bringing us back."
Once the vessel set course towards Tuticorin, the evacuees were addressed by the ship's captain on the main broadcast which was audible at the respective staying areas.
The disembarkation is being carried out in a streamlined manner area-wise to ensure social distancing and avoid overcrowding at the gangway.
The rescue mission is a part of operation Samudra Setu under Vande Bharat Mission that so far facilitated 1286 evacuees from Male twice on May 8 and May 16.
Under the phase II naval repatriation mission INS Jalashwa with base at Vishakhapatnam would sail forth for evacuation in Male (Maldives) and Bandar Abbas (Iran) now.
Vande Bharat is an initiative by the Government of India to bring back Indian nationals stranded overseas during lockdown, both via air and sea route. (ANI)