India extends repatriation mission in Gulf region

Indian nationals returning from Dubai on a special flight wait to be transferred to a quarantine facility on May 13,2020. (AFP)
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Updated 27 July 2020

India extends repatriation mission in Gulf region

  • Air India will operate flights to Sharjah to collect nationals

DUBAI: India is extending its repatriation flights by six days starting Aug. 1 for non-resident Indians in the Gulf affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of airports involved in the previous four phases of the repatriation program has also been expanded.

Air India will operate flights to Sharjah to collect nationals, according to state news agency WAM.

The airline’s scheduled domestic flights for the repatriation mission will be solely for expat Indians - local passengers will not be allowed onboard.

The repatriation mission will also cover airports in Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

The Vande Bharat mission was started by the Indian government on May 6, with Air India and other private carriers running unscheduled flights to repatriate nationals stuck overseas because of the pandemic.

A more detailed schedule for the mission’s latest phase, involving other Indian carriers is being finalized and is expected before Aug. 1, when the new schedules comes into effect.


US military accuses Iranian forces of boarding Liberian-flagged civilian ship

Updated 23 min 52 sec ago

US military accuses Iranian forces of boarding Liberian-flagged civilian ship

WASHINGTON: The United States military on Wednesday said that Iranian forces had boarded a civilian vessel in international waters in the Gulf.
The US military’s Central Command released a grainy black-and-white video on Twitter showing a helicopter near a large ship.
“Today in international waters, Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian ‘Sea King’ helicopter, overtook and boarded a ship called the ‘Wila,’” the US Central Command said in a tweet.
According to Refinitiv tracking data, Wila is a Liberian-flagged oil tanker and was currently anchored near the United Arab Emirates’ port of Khor Fakkan.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the incident took place near the Strait of Hormuz and the ship was eventually released by Iranian forces. The official said the United States military was not involved in anything other than monitoring the situation.
Tensions between Iran and the United States increased last year following a series of incidents involving shipping in and near the Gulf.
In July 2019, Iran briefly seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized the Iranian tanker Grace 1, accused of violating sanctions on Syria.