Mehdi Farahani, Director General of Maritime Affairs, announced the launch of an Iranian-Iraqi sea passenger line on Saturday, targeting visitors attending the religious event of Arbaeen. Authorities anticipate up to 20 cruise journeys to accommodate the pilgrims.
Mehr news agency reported that Farahani said a fleet of three floating ships would offer a seamless maritime travel experience for Arbaeen attendees, facilitating a daily quota of 20 cruises. The naval forces are responsible for organizing the voyages from Iranian ports to Iraqi destinations.
Farahani emphasized the suitability of Abadan and Khorramshahr ports for increased sea traffic during Arbaeen. He expressed disappointment that despite having adequate infrastructure, the local government was unprepared to facilitate docking operations in Iraq.
During the Husseini Arbaeen commemoration, Khorramshahr Port became the primary facilitator of maritime movement. Anchorage was established at Abu Flus Port in Iraq. Farahani allocated three vessels to transport Arbaeen pilgrims from Khorramshahr to Abu Flus, including two vessels from the Iraqi private sector and one high-speed boat through negotiations with the Islamic Republic. Each voyage only takes 40 minutes.
Farahani stated that the voyages have a total capacity of roughly 20 cruises. The designated ship provided by the Islamic Republic can accommodate 220 passengers, whereas vessels run by the Iraqi private sector can house up to 80 passengers each.
On Friday, pilgrims from across Iraq and beyond are heading towards Karbala Governorate for the upcoming Arbaeen commemoration, dedicated to Imam Hussein – the third Shia Imam and grandson of Prophet Mohammed.
In preparation for the influx of pilgrims, the authorities have taken measures to secure the land routes leading to Karbala. Additionally, the region’s airports are experiencing increased activity with daily flights arriving to accommodate the anticipated surge in numbers, particularly during the event’s concluding days.
Hussein Halbous, the Media Director of Najaf International Airport, assured that they have made every provision to simplify the journey for pilgrims. He estimated that the airport will handle 120 to 160 daily flights from different countries.
Abdul Hussein Mohsen, the Director of Basra International Airport, highlighted that pilgrims from various origins enter Iraq via Qatari Airways, Fly Dubai, and Turkish Airlines. However, the number of flights to Basra is comparatively lower due to the proximity of Najaf and Karbala, with an average of 5 to 6 flights per day.
The Arbaeen pilgrimage procession began over a week ago, with scores of pilgrims from various Iraqi provinces and international locations participating in the upcoming ceremony. The commemoration of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom is scheduled for September 5th, which coincides with the 40th day after Ashura.
The General Company for Maritime Transport has prepared for the Arbaeen pilgrimage with a fully equipped fleet of 50 vehicles and 29 boats.
Eng. Ahmed Jassim Al-Asadi, the General Manager of the company, highlighted that the Shatt Al-Arab marina is fully equipped to handle government support agencies, including passport processing, and can also accommodate Iranian ferries.
Shiite Muslims hold the Arbaeen commemoration in remembrance of Imam Hussein’s sacrifice in 61 AH (680 AD). Imam Hussein, his family, and companions suffered a tragic fate at the hands of forces led by Umayyad caliph Yazid bin Muawiyah.