18 Indian Sailors Stuck in China To Return on 14 February

The Quint
·2-min read

As many as eighteen Indian sailors stranded on the ship at the Chinese port of Caofeidian since 20 September will finally return to India on 14 February, informed Ports Shipping and Waterways Minister Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, on Wednesday, 10 February.

“Great start of the day! Our stranded seafarers of MV Anastasia are coming back to India!” Mandaviya said in a tweet.

According to PTI, the crew will sign off from Japan on 10 February and will come back to India by 14 February.

“Our 18 stranded seafarers of MV Anastasia stuck in China are coming to India. The crew will sign off from Japan today and will reach India on February 14," Mandaviya tweeted.

According to IANS, having been at sea for more than 18 months, the seafarers on the ship were caught in a political tussle between China and Australia.

What Had Happened?

As many as 18 sailors were stuck on merchant ports since September because of the ongoing trade row between Australia and China. Seafarers were aboard Anastasia, a cargo ship that was denied because of carrying Australian Charcoal.

However, the Chinese authorities conveyed that on account of various COVID-19 restrictions, crew change wasn’t permitted at the ports.

“Multiple dates were given to us for offloading our cargo, but they kept changing over and over owing to the coronavirus pandemic, and consequent changes to international travel and shipments. We have been anchored in the same place since September 2020.” Gaurav Singh Navigating Officer of Anastasia, told The Quint.

Chinese Authorities Finally Agreed

Despite the Indian authorities constantly communicating with the Chinese government, the issue did not seem to end. However, the return was finalised after External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava informed on Thursday, 4 January that the Chinese authorities had finally agreed to India’s request to permit a crew change in the ship.

Earlier, National Human Rights Commission had also asked the Chinese government to ensure immediate relief to the stranded sailors.

Union Minister Mandaviya appreciated the efforts of Indian embassy in China and the Mediterranean Ship Company for arranging the repatriation, reported PTI.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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