proposed to their Chinese counterparts facilitating a crew change at sea for
the crew members stranded aboard the vessels anchored for months off the
Assistance expected in an urgent time-bound manner, Indian Ministry
ministry in its response said, “We have noted the statements of the Chinese
side, expressing their willingness to extend their assistance in this matter.
We expect that this assistance will be provided in an urgent, practical and
time-bound manner, given the grave humanitarian situation that is developing on
board the ships.”
Vessels waiting to discharge cargos of Australian coal
The bulk carrier
the Jag Anand of Great Eastern Shipping Company has been anchored near the
Chinese port of Jingtang since June 13, 2020, with a crew of 23 Indian
nationals. Similarly, the Anastasia, which has 16 Indian nationals as its crew,
has been anchored near the Chinese port of Caofeidian since September 20, 2020.
Both vessels, along with estimates of up to 20 or more other ships, have all
been waiting to discharge cargos of Australian coal.
Ships' operators fear they
would not be permitted to return to the ports if they left the anchorage
China, for its
part, denies reports that the ships are being held offshore in a trade dispute
with Australia The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggested that the ships
are free to depart their anchorages, but the ships' operators fear leaving the
anchorage for a crew change they would not be permitted to return to the ports
preferring instead to wait out the trade dispute to deliver their cargo.
Ambassador has taken up this issue with Vice Foreign Minister, the statement
said, while the ministry has also been following this issue with the Chinese
Embassy in India.
NUSI and ITF call for action
The National Union
of Seafarers of India (NUSI) attempted to bring world attention to the plight
of the seafarers in November calling for a global email campaign to the
International Maritime Organization. Other organizations, including the
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), have also responded, calling
for action to address the crew welfare with some seafarers on the ships for 20
months or more.
Ministry of External Affairs says that they are continuing to be in close and
continuous contact with the Chinese authorities in Beijing, Hebei, and Tianjin.
They are calling for an early resolution and promised to provide updates on