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New Delhi, April 3, 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 Tamil Nadu origin off Kochi on Wednesday.
The boat did not have sufficient fuel, water and provisions to reach its home port Kolachel in Tamil Nadu and was found stranded off Kochi, an official press release said.
INS Nireekshak, realising that the boat was in distress, provided it assistance by transferring 300 litres of fuel, water and provisions 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 the ship's crane," the release said.
The boat had left Kochi on March 12 for fishing in theArabian 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 because of the ongoing lockdown due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
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, the release added.