Tourists stranded in Havelock in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands following the cancellation of ferry service that had developed a defect have been evacuated by the Indian Navy.
Due to the disruption of scheduled ferry service on 17 September, two naval ships were deployed at Havelock Island to provide passage to tourists. 24 tourists were accommodated onboard the ships and brought to Port Blair late night.
On 17 Sep, a message was received from Civil Administration that due to a defect in the hull, the return trip for tourists from Havelock by civil ferry MAKRUZZ had been cancelled. It was also intimated that a number of passengers, who had their flights scheduled for the morning of 18 Sep, were stranded and required to be brought to Port Blair.
As the Civil ferries do not ply at night to Havelock, Andaman and Nicobar Command had been approached for ferrying the stranded tourists.
Two ships of the Naval Component, INS Bangaram and INS Battimalv (Fast Attack Craft class) were sailed for the mission despite torrential rains and very rough weather. 24 civilian tourists (10 ladies, 10 men and four children) were embarked onboard INS Bangaram at Havelock and ferried to Port Blair.
Additionally, 54 Officers from Defence Services Staff College, who are on a visit to the islands and stranded due to cancellation of MAKRUZZ, were also embarked on the ships. Thus a total of 78 stranded personnel were ferried back to Port Blair on the two ships.
On arrival in Port Blair, at about 2230 hrs, the tourists were provided a Naval transport to their places of stay in Port Blair. The prompt action by the ANC and the help extended by the ships was highly appreciated by the stranded tourists.