On 3rd June, Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Nistar’ to evacuate 38 stranded Indians around Socotra Island. The Island is located close to the horn of Africa between the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. It is about 1,180 nautical miles from Mumbai.
INS Sunayna mission deployed in West Arabian Sea was diverted to reach off Socotra Island.
These Indian seafarers have been stranded due to Cyclone Mekunu which hit that area a few days back. The Indian Nationals were stranded for nearly ten days after severe devastation of the area.
Three Indian vessels at Socotra suffered damages/sank alongside in the harbour and another Dhow, MSV Safina Al Khijar with 12 Indians onboard is reported to be missing.
INS Sunayna was diverted from Gulf of Aden deployment in Arabian Sea to Socotra Island for search and rescue operations after Indian Navy received a distress call from Directorate General of Shipping and Indian Sailing Vessels Association.
The 38 Indian nationals were successfully rescued and evacuated in the early morning of 3rd June 2018. All evacuees were safely embarked onboard the ship and were immediately provided with medical care, food, water and telephone facilities. Thereafter, the ship also undertook intensive surface search and aerial reconnaissance of the area to look for any more survivors.
The Return Back Home
INS Sunayana entered Porbandar harbour 7th June 2018 after the swift Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operation (HADR).
Upon entering harbour INS Sunayna was received by Rear Admiral Sanjay Roye, Flag Officer Commanding Gujarat, Daman & Diu Naval Area. After initial briefing about the scheduled disembarkation formalities, all 38 Indian nationals were put through mandatory customs clearance and immigration checks. They were served light refreshments. Post completion of all the administrative formalities, they were handed over to the civil police to facilitate their return to native places.
The cyclone Mekunu badly hit various parts of Oman and Socotra Island. A timely action by the Indian Navy to send a ship to the Island in Yemen to rescue 38 stranded Indians helped them get back to their families safely.