Indian Navy Vessels Return from Op Rahat

Indian Navy vessel INS Tarkash, which participated in the Operation Rahat, returned to Mumbai harbour on April 18, while INS Mumbai had entered on 16 April 15.

Earlier this year, a raging civil war in Yemen has left thousands of people homeless and stranded. With the situation in the country deteriorating rapidly, the Indian Government had ordered evacuation of Indian nationals from Yemen on March 30, 2015.

The Indian Navy was first off the starting block, with INS Sumitra, one of the newest Offshore Patrol Vessels of the Indian Navy, being diverted immediately from her operational tasking in the Gulf of Aden. She immediately entered the Port of Aden and evacuated the first wave of 349 Indians on March 31, and transported them to Djibouti. During the evacuation operations at Aden, the ship reported bombing and gunfire and a general disorder. At Djibouti, the evacuated Indians were met by Gen (Retd) VK Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, before they were airlifted to India by the Indian Air Force.

After disembarking the first group of evacuees at Djibouti, INS Sumitra dispatched for the Port of Hodeidah on April 2, from where the ship evacuated another 317 people (mostly Indian nationals) amidst similar unsecure conditions with bombing in the distance. This second wave was transported to Djibouti on April 3.

On March 30 two major warships, guided-missile destroyer INS Mumbai and the guided-missile frigate INS Tarkash, deployed from Mumbai to Yemen. Two Indian passenger ships, MV Kavaratti and MV Coral, which normally ply between Kochi and the Lakshadweep Islands, were also sent from Kochi towards Yemen. IN Ships Mumbai and Tarkash were tasked to escort these passenger ships to Djibouti.

These ship undertook a total of nine missions to various ports to evacuate over 3,000 persons from Yemen. This included nearly 1,300 people from over 30 foreign countries.

INS Mumbai and Tarkash left Djibouti for Indian coast on April 12, while INS Sumitra continued to remain in the area for the final evacuation mission conducted on April 15. INS Mumbai reached Mumbai Harbour on April 16 and INS Tarkash escorted the two MVs Kavaratti and Coral out of piracy ridden Gulf of Aden and returned to Mumbai harbour on April 18. The two MVs with evacuees on them entered Cochin on April 18.

Image: Indian Navy

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