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Berthing of ships halted at Sikka port as Cyclone Vayu approaches

An India Meteorological Department scientist monitors Cyclone Vayu inside his office in Ahmedabad

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's Sikka Ports and Terminals Ltd, which handles crude oil and refined products for Reliance Industries Ltd, closed berthing of vessels at its western Indian port on Wednesday due to a cyclone warning, according to a port notice and a shipping industry source.

Sikka ports also handle oil and refined products cargo for Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.

"Berthing operation have been stopped. Most of the vessels have already been moved out as a safety precaution," said a shipping industry source. The port would be closed for at least 1-2 days, the source said.

Indian authorities have evacuated thousands of people along the western coast as a severe cyclone is expected to make landfall on Thursday morning in Gujarat.

Storm Vayu, which formed in the Arabian Sea, is likely to cross the Gujarat coast with gust speeds as high as 170 kmph (84 mph), the India Meteorological Department said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)