Kochi, Dec 7 (IANS) The Indian Navy's search-and-rescue operations and humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of cyclone Ockhi continued on Thursday, with nine naval ships and four types of aircraft participating.
Boeing P8I surveillance aircraft, Dornier aircraft, Sea King and Advanced Light Helicopters, along with the ships, continued with these operations, the Navy said.
On Thursday, INS Jamuna provided over 12,000 litres of fresh water at Kavaratti even as work is in progress to repair the damaged desalination plant. The ship would be providing fresh water to the island for the next five days.
INS Sharda reached Minicoy on Thursday morning with fresh water, medicines, food, clothings, and blankets.
The ship also carried essentials like emergency lights, petrol, portable 10-KVA power generators, UPS, rechargeable torches, tarpaulin, electrical tool kits, boiler suits and public address system with speakers.
However, the items could not be delivered during the day due to non-availability of a barge from Minicoy. The relief material will now be delivered on Friday.
INS Shardul, while proceeding from Minicoy to Kochi, encountered a stranded Singapore- registered tugboat "Bes Power" 35 miles off Minicoy. The tug was on way from Oman to Maldives when it ran into bad weather due to the cyclone. Since the drifting vessel had exhausted its fuel, INS Shardul gave 45 tonnes of fuel to it to continue its journey to Maldives.
INS Kalpeni, with six local fishermen onboard, undertook guided search for fishing vessels in distress for the second day at Bassas de Pedro, a traditional fishing area.
The fishermen who went onboard INS Kabra returned after not finding fishing vessels in distress or survivors. INS Kabra is continuing its planned search operations in the southeast Arabian Sea.
"Normalcy will be restored on a war footing at Minicoy, with the naval contingent working 24X7," a Navy statement said.
A relief camp was established to distribute relief material ferried by naval ships to all 11 villages through village heads, as requested by Lakshadweep authorities.
Other maintenance activities such as clearing of fallen trees, cleaning of jetty area, Navodaya school, relief camp and Fisheries Department premises will be undertaken by naval personnel there.
Meanwhile, based on information about a fishing boat with 15 fishermen onboard off Lakshadweep, Coast Guard ship Abhinav approached it and provided fresh water and provisions to those onboard. FB Thiru Churulai boat is since on way to Kochi on its own.
Earlier in the day, two bodies were recovered by Coast Guard ship Vaibhav about 100 nautical miles off Alappuzha, which were handed over to authorities at Vizhinjam.
A total of 12 ships -- including two from Mumbai and two types of aircraft, Dornier fixed wing and Chetak helicopter -- have been deployed by the Coast Guard for the operations.