END AROUND: India has joined Japan in offering government-backed insurance for ships carrying Iranian crude in the wake of European sanctions that have nearly halved Iranian oil exports to key markets.

CRUCIAL ENERGY SOURCE: The first Indian ship to carry oil from Iran with Indian insurance is scheduled to load up in Iran on Wednesday. This is a breakthrough for the Indian government, which has scrambled to maintain vital Iranian oil imports after European sanctions blocked third-party insurance in July.

BETTER THAN NOTHING: The shipping company Mercator is insuring the ship with $50 million in hull and machinery insurance, which covers physical damage to the ship, from state-owned New India Assurance Co. and another $50 million in protection and indemnity insurance, which covers a broad range of liabilities including environmental pollution and cargo damage, from government-backed United India Insurance. But that is a far cry from the $1 billion in coverage Indian companies like Mercator got from European insurers.