Coronavirus | Over 700 Indians stranded in Maldives set to sail back home

Indian Navy’s LPD (Landing platform dock) Jalashwa, on a mission to bring back stranded Indians from the Maldives, docked at Male on the morning of May 8.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

India on May 8 began evacuating over 700 citizens by sea from the Maldives who were stranded in there due to the COVID-19 linked international travel restrictions.

INS Jalashwa, Indian Navy’s amphibious warship, reached Male on May 7 to undertake the repatriation mission named ‘Operation Samudra Setu’, the High Commission of India in Maldives said.

The first Naval ship from Male is expected to arrive at the Cochin Port on May 10, Port Trust officials in Kochi said.

The INS Jalashwa is part of the repatriation mission launched by the Indian Navy to bring Indian citizens home from foreign shores, the Indian Navy said in a statement. It is equipped with relief materials, COVID-19 protection gear along with medical and administrative support staff

“It is a very great thing that the High Commission did for us and we did not have any issues till now. We got everything with proper guidelines,” Pradeep, who worked at a resort in Male and hails from Palakkad, said.

The INS Magar, an amphibious warfare vessel of the Indian Navy, will also join the repatriation mission in Male as part of the efforts to bring back around 1,000 stranded Indian nationals to the Kochi port in Kerala over the next few days.

$40 service fee

The High Commission in Male on its Facebook page said, MVR 600 or an equivalent amount of $40 will be charged as the Evacuation Services Charge from each person listed for repatriation by INS Jalashwa.

“This amount would be collected at the service fee collection counter after completion of the Immigration process at the Velana International Airport. Kindly carry exact change to avoid delay/ inconvenience,” the post said.

Meanwhile, all arrangements as per government guidelines are in place at the Cochin Port to facilitate the arrival of those evacuated from Maldives, officials in Kochi said.

Arrangements in place at Cochin Port

Before arrival at Cochin, the Navy will get the self e-declaration data filled by all passengers and also identify the passengers symptomatic of COVID-19.

The symptomatic passengers will disembark first, followed by other passengers (district wise) in batches of 50 persons, the Port Trust said. A separate zone has been earmarked for the symptomatic patients.

All disembarked passengers will undergo further statutory verifications for clearance inside the Samudrika Cruise Terminal where Port Health Organisation will verify the self declaration forms, the trust said.

All passengers on arrival in India will be medically screened and would have to download and register on the Aarogya Setu app.

The passengers, once cleared by all statutory organisations, will be transported to different districts in buses (30 per bus) arranged by the Regional Transport Officer.

On May 4, the Indian government announced plans to begin a phased repatriation of its citizens stranded abroad from May 7. The biggest-ever repatriation exercise named Vande Bharat Mission will bring back stranded Indians from abroad, including from the U.S., the UAE, the U.K.

On May 7, two special flights from the UAE carrying a total of 363 Indian nationals, including nine infants, left for Kerala as India began its repatriation exercise.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 1:08:38 AM |

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