Ship from Maldives with 588 Indians to arrive in Kochi on May 17

Nearly 590 Indian nationals stranded

in the Maldives due to COVID-19-induced international travel restrictions were evacuated on Saturday from the island nation on an Indian Navy warship.

In its Phase 2 of Operation Samudra Setu, INS Jalashwa left Male for Kochi with 588 Indian citizens including 70 women, 21 children and 497 on board on Saturday morning, a Defence source said here.

The ship is expected to arrive here on Sunday morning, he said.

A source said the inclement weather prevailing in the area had delayed the process of embarkation of people and departure of the ship.

On May 12, the vessel had successfully brought home 698 Indian nationals from Maldives to Kochi.

Another Navy Ship INS Magar under "Operation Samudra Setu" had evacuated 202 Indian citizens from Maldives to Kochi on Tuesday.

In a tweet, the High Commission of India in Maldives has expressed its gratitude to the government of the island nation for ensuring safe repatriation of stranded Indian citizens.

"We are extremely grateful to the Govt. of #Maldives and all concerned agencies in ensuring safe and secure repatriation of nearly 1500 Indian nationals from the Maldives under Op. #SamudraSetu," the Indian High Commission tweeted.

The Indian nationals were screened medically, allotted IDs and their baggage sanitised before boarding the ship.