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Two Air India flights head for Tripoli

February 26, 2011 14:49 IST

India has begun the process of evacuating its nationals stranded in troubled Libya by sending two aircraft with total capacity of 640 passengers to Tripoli besides despatching four ships.

The specially chartered Air India Boeing 747 with a capacity of 360 passengers, and an Airbus 330 with a capacity of 280, are en route to Tripoli and were to land shortly, External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

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The aircraft will return to New Delhi after picking up passengers at Tripoli, it said.

Besides, two Naval ships -- INS Jalashwa and INS Mysore -- set sail from Mumbai this morning for Libya. The sailing time is about twelve days to Libya.

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Another passenger ship with a capacity of 1600, presently in the Mediterranean, is being chartered today and will be pressed into service for assisting the departure of our nationals out of Libya, the statement said.

Scotia Prince, another chartered ship, is scheduled to depart for Benghazi (Libya) from Port Said (Egypt) on Saturday at 2000 hrs and is likely to arrive at its destination by the afternoon of February 28. The ship has a capacity of 1200 passengers.

The Ministry said it has positioned additional personnel at the Indian Embassy in Tripoli to help in the process.

There are around 18,000 Indians in Libya and the government is concerned about their well- being in view of the deteriorating situation in the country following a popular uprising.