Chinese authorities accepted India’s request to give permission to a crew change on merchant vessel MV Anastasia, and this took place last week. This vessel was in anchorage near the port of Caofeidian since the 20th September.
16 Indian sailors who have been stranded in Chinese waters since the past 4 months will be returning to India on the 14th of February. Mansukh Mandaviya, the minister for ports & shipping, said that this will be followed by a crew change on this vessel.
Mandaviya had tweeted – “Great start of the day! Our stranded seafarers of MV Anastasia are coming back to India!” He added to it, “The crew will sign off from Japan today and will reach India on 14th Feb. And soon will be reunited with their families!”
Mandaviya said that the sailors were returning because of the efforts of the Indian embassy located in Beijing. 39 Indian seafarers in total were stranded on two different vessels off of Chinese ports for several months because of the row regarding trade between China and Australia. Both of these vessels were carrying Australian coal, which the Chinese authorities did not permit to unload.
The external affairs minister spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, on last Thursday, said that the central authorities of China had given clearance for the crew transfer of MV Anastasia after the follow-up by the Indian Embassy in Beijing.
India had been going over this issue with China over the course of the past few months. The Chinese authorities had outlined the steps in detail for the crew, in regards to the stern pandemic control/prevention measures. They insisted on the shipping companies to abide by them for the same.