The Indian Navy amphibious transport dock INS Jalashwa (L41) departed the port of Male, the Maldives, on May 15 for Kochi with 588 Indian citizens embarked as part of Operation Samudra Setu.
Operation Samudra Setu is the Indian Navy’s contribution to India’s national effort to bring home its citizens from foreign shores by sea ami the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Her manifest of 588 includes six expectant mothers and 21 children.
The inclement weather hampered the planned embarkation process requiring various pre-embarkation activities to be done onboard the ship itself.
“Braving rain and winds gusting to 30-40 knots at Male, the ship staff ensured completion of all formalities for the manifested passengers while observing safety and medical protocols at all times”, said an Indian Ministry of Defence statement.
INS Jalashwa (L41)
INS Jalashwa (“Hippopotamus”) is the sole amphibious transport dock ship (Landing Platform Dock, LPD) currently in service with the Indian Navy.
The vessel is an Austin-class amphibious transport dock formerly operated by the U.S. Navy. She was called USS Trenton (LPD-14) in the U.S. Navy service.
Trenton, along with six Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters, were procured from the United States by India for a total of US$90 million in 2005. The vessel is the only Indian naval ship to be acquired from the United States.
The vessel was commissioned into the Indian Navy fleet as INS Jalashwa on 22 June 2007. She is based in Visakhapatnam under the Navy’s Eastern Naval Command (ENC).
Jalashwa features a well deck, which can house up to four LCM-8 mechanized landing craft. She also has a flight deck for helicopter operations from which up to six medium helicopters can operate simultaneously. She is also capable of embarking over 1,000 troops and is fully equipped with extensive medical facilities including four operation theatres, a 12-bed ward, a laboratory, and a dental centre.