Indian sailors stranded in Chinese waters: India asks China for early crew change

at 10:36 pm
Indian sailors
File photo

New Delhi (NVI): The Indian ambassador in China has “personally” taken up the issue of 39 Indian sailors stranded on two ships at Chinese ports with the country’s Vice Foreign Minister and asked for an early approval for crew change on the two vessels.

“Our Ambassador has again personally taken up this issue with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister and requested early approval for crew change for Indian crew members aboard two ships MV Jag Anand and MV Anastasia,” MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava said, adding that the ministry is also in regular contact on this issue with the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.

The MEA spokesman said that in view of China’s strict COVID-19 pandemic control and prevention measures as well as various travel restrictions in place, the Chinese authorities have outlined detailed steps to ensure the smooth movement of new crew to China to effect crew change. “These steps have to be complied by the concerned shipping companies,” he added.

“With regard to the request of exploring alternative modes of crew change at sea, this possibility has also been taken up by with Chinese authorities, who have indicated that the details for this option are being worked out. We are awaiting these details from Chinese authorities,” he said.

Srivastava said that India will continue to remain in touch with various relevant Chinese authorities as well as shipping companies to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the crew are taken care of and that crew changes can be effected at the earliest.

The Indian bulk cargo vessel MV Jag Anand of Great Eastern Shipping company is on anchorage near Jingtang port in Hebei province of China since June 13, 2020 with 23 Indian nationals as crew on board. Another vessel, MV Anastasia, which has 16 Indian nationals as its crew, is on anchorage near Caofeidian port in China since September 20, 2020.

The Chinese government has neither allowed the sailors to offload the Australian coal nor has it allowed a change of crew. At the same time, China has allowed the vessels from Canada and Russia and Europe to offload the same coal shipments from Australia and depart.