Cyclone Fani: Indian Navy deploys 4 key warships, choppers and over 3000 personnel

The Asian Age.  | Rajib Chowdhuri

India, All India

INS Ranvir was the latest to sail out from Vizag.

Other ships are loaded with HADR pellets and ready to sail at short notice. (Representational photo)

Kolkata: The Indian Navy has deployed four giant warships including an anti submarine warfare (ASW) corvette alongwith others and four aircrafts, being large multi-utility helicopters, under it's Eastern Naval Command (ENC) to swing into rescue and relief operations as the Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm, ‘FANI’, which is at distance of 170 km from Visakhapatnam in the South East direction 430 km as on 2.30 pm on Thursday, is expected to hit Odisha and then West Bengal over Bay of Bengal on Friday.

Four Eastern Fleet ships are at sea following the VSCS so as to be the first responders of Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR) operations post landfall, the Navy stated. The deployment includes INS Ranvir, a destroyer, INS Sahyadri, a multi-role frigate, INS Kadmatt, an ASW corvette, and a Landing Ship Tank (Large), an amphibious warship capable of carrying full batallion of army troops and vehicles. INS Ranvir was the latest to sail out from Vizag.

Other ships are loaded with HADR pellets and ready to sail at short notice. On the aviation front, two Sea King (C) and two UH3H helicopters are kept ready at Vizag, the ENC headquarters, to ferry diving teams to Odisha and West Bengal. Sources indicated that the Navy has mobilised more than 3000 personnel for the entire arrangement.

The Navy said, "The ENC and Maritime Operations Centre in Kolkata are closely monitoring the movement of the Cyclonic Storm. The Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm has recurved as expected in North-North-East direction and is likely to make a landfall north of Chilka lake, somewhere near Puri in the afternoon tomorrow, 03 May, between 1430 - 1730 hrs as per present speed and direction. At the time of landfall the system is likely to pack a wind speed of 170 - 180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph. Ships at Visakhapatnam are standing by with relief material for immediate deployment to the most affected areas to undertake HADR operation."

It elaborated, "Diving and medical teams are also kept ready at short notice augmenting rescue and relief efforts in Odissa and West Bengal. Naval aircraft are kept ready at Naval Air Stations, INS Dega (Vizag) and INS Rajali (Chennai) to undertake aerial survey of the most affected areas, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material as required by the state Administration."

Meanwhile the Kolkata  Port Trust informed that it also has been closely monitoring the development of the storm.

"Apart from issuing general alert all ships in the docks both at Kolkata Dock System and Haldia Dock Complex has been specifically advised to take precautionary measures. 5 Coast Guard vessels and all operational crafts of the Port are being provided safe berthing inside docks. Ships from riverine jetties at Haldia and Bajbaj and also from Sagar and DH anchorages have either  been put out to sea or shifted to docks. Two control stations have been opened with required facilities, one at Kolkata and other at Haldia which will be maintained around the clock. Liason with DG shipping, Coast Guard and State disaster centre established. Shipping to this port will remain suspended from tonight till the storm is clear. IWAI has been advised to secure Bangladeshi vessels in safe area," KoPT spokesperson Sanjoy Kumar Mukherjee said.