April 2, 2020 – INS Nireekshak, a Diving support vessel of Southern Naval Command, based at Kochi, on mission patrol along the Kerala Coast came to the rescue of 10 fishermen stranded onboard Fishing Boat Saint Nicholas, of Tamilnadu origin on 01 Apr 20 off Kochi.
The boat with 10 crew, did not have sufficient fuel, water and provision to reach home port Kolachel in Tamilnadu and was found stranded off Kochi. INS Nireekshak, realizing that the boat was in distress provided assistance to the fishing boat by transferring 300 litters of fuel, water and provision to sustain them till they reach their home port. In View of the existing health advisories on COVID-19 it was ensured that all transfer was done without any physical contact with the boat or crew. The fuel water and provisions were transferred using ship’s crane.
The boat had left Kochi on 12 Mar for fishing in Arabian Sea and has not touched any other port since then. It was to enter Kochi for re-fueling and ration but was unable to do so view ongoing lockdown due to Corona.
Naval ships continue to remain mission deployed during COVID-19 crisis and the deployments are being planned without any port visit to the extent possible or with at least a gap of 14 days at sea from the last port visit prior return.