New Delhi :
The Indian Navy is putting in "maximum effort" to rescue fishermen from the sea which is very rough under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi, a top Navy official said today.
"Rescue operations are on. Some fishermen have already been rescued by the Navy which immediately dispatched aircraft and ships besides helicopters to carry out rescue operations in the sea which is very rough, said Vice Admiral A R Karve, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command.
"Maximum efforts have been put in," he said at a press meet held on board the INS Tir on the occasion of Navy Day at the Naval Base here.
"We have responded immediately. We will continue to meet the requirement of safety and security of our fishermen. As soon as we got the request from the government of Kerala for search operations, we have started that," Vice Admiral Karve said.
According to a defence spokesperson, the navy is continuing search and rescue operations in coordination with the Indian Coast Guard and the state administration in the coastal areas of Kerala. At present, 69 people stranded in the sea have been located and the exact numbers are being corroborated, he said.
Twenty people have been rescued and efforts are on to bring others to safety. Continuous sorties of aircraft and helicopters are being undertaken in coordination with the units at sea, the spokesperson said.
Top navy officials said they have deployed two ships to the Lakshadweep Islands for carrying out rescue and rehabilitation operations in the island which is under threat of the cyclone.
Ockhi, which has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, moved to the Arabian Sea today.
"Cyclone Ockhi intensified into severe cyclone and lies at about 110 km northeast of Minicoy (island) and it is likely to cross the Lakshadweep arch during the next 24 hours," the India Meteorological Department said in a bulletin this morning.