Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on 08 January 2018 that Saudi Arabia has agreed to India’s decision to revive the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route. According to the ministry of minority affairs, sending pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses significantly.
The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped in 1995. Naqvi said another advantage with ships available these days is they are modern and wellequipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at a time. They can cover the 2,300-odd nautical miles one-side distance between Mumbai and Jeddah within just 3-4 days.
A decision in this regard was taken during signing of bilateral annual Haj 2018 agreement between India and Saudi Arabia by Naqvi and Haj and Umrah minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten, at Makkah.