Andhra Pradesh

Keeping COVID-19 at bay was a challenge: ENC chief

Handling the COVID-19 pandemic on one hand and ensuring that the force was in combat readiness proved to be a major challenge for the Eastern Naval Command, said Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of ENC Atul Kumar Jain.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of Navy Day here on Thursday, he said, “Initially, we had some teething problems immediately after the lockdown, but we settled down quickly and put things on back on track.”

According to Vice-Admiral Jain, the challenge was to contain the spread of COVID onboard naval ships and submarines.

“Our ships and submarines are compactly built and sailors and officers, who number around 300 in each ship, live in bunkers. So, keeping COVID at bay was a challenge that we face even today. But fortunately, there have been no cases so far,” he said.

Appreciating the staff, he said that all, including defence civilian staff, rose to the occasion.

The chief of ENC informed reporters that two ships from ENC – INS Jalashwa and Airavat, were deployed for the Samudra Setu operation, which was responsible for bringing home Indian citizens stranded in Sri Lanka and Maldives, at the peak of the COVID outbreak.

“We brought home around 3,900 of our citizens and during that period, we had to accommodate 750 of our citizens in Jalashwa, when its staff capacity is around 300 men and officers. Our cooks on board worked 24/7 to provide meals to the evacuees,” he said.

Luckily, no was infected onboard, as we maintained a good hygienic environment and followed all protocols. Our sailors and officers gave their bunkers to the evacuees, he said.

He also appreciated Naval Dockyard-Visakhapatnam for innovatively designing and producing ‘Portable Multi-feed Oxygen Manifold (MOM)’. These instruments had come in handy for the oxygen-fed beds in COVID hospitals. “We delivered 35 such instruments to various district COVID hospitals. NDV also designed and manufactured remotely controlled body temperature monitor,” he said.

Milan-2020 deferred

Vice-Admiral Jain pointed out that Milan-2020, a multilateral exercise, which was supposed to be held from March 18 to 27, was cancelled due to COVID and will now be held in March 2022.

“We are trying to coincide the event with the Presidential Fleet Review, and the dates are to be finalised,” he said.

Navies from 41 countries have confirmed their participation in the Milan exercise.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 7:10:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/keeping-covid-19-at-bay-was-a-challenge-enc-chief/article33243983.ece

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