16 Indian sailors, stranded in Chinese waters, to return on Feb 14: Minister
Sixteen Indian sailors stranded in Chinese waters for more than four months will return home on February 14 following a crew change on their vessel, minister of state for ports and shipping Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday.
Last week, Chinese authorities had agreed to India’s request to permit a crew change on the merchant vessel MV Anastasia, which was in anchorage near Caofeidian port since September 20.
“Great start of the day! Our stranded seafarers of MV Anastasia are coming back to India!” Mandaviya said in a tweet.
“The crew will sign off from Japan today and will reach India on 14th Feb. And soon will be reunited with their families!” he added.
The minister said the sailors were coming home due to the efforts of the Indian embassy in Beijing and the ministry. A total of 39 Indian seafarers were stranded on two merchant vessels off Chinese ports for months because of the trade row between China and Australia. Both ships were carrying Australian coal, which they weren’t allowed to unload by Chinese authorities.
Twenty-three sailors stranded on MV Jag Anand, which was at anchorage near Jingtang port since June 13 last year, returned home in January after Chinese authorities allowed a crew change at a Japanese port.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said last Thursday that Chinese central authorities had given clearance for the transfer of the crew of MV Anastasia after sustained follow-up by the Indian embassy in Beijing.
India had repeatedly taken up the issue of the stranded sailors with China over the past few months. Chinese authorities had outlined detailed steps for a crew change in view of the country’s strict pandemic control and prevention measures, and insisted the shipping companies would have to comply with them.
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