Thirty-nine sailors, who have been stuck in China for several months amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, will return to India this week, Minister of State for Ports Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted.
How many Indians have been stuck in China?
In the last few weeks, India has been repeatedly urging Beijing to provide “urgent” assistance to the Indian sailors on board two ships stuck in Chinese waters.
Indian bulk cargo vessel MV Jag Anand has been on anchorage near Jingtang port in Hebei province of China since June 13 and it has 23 Indian sailors. Another vessel, MV Anastasia, with 16 Indian nationals as its crew is on anchorage near Caofeidian port in China since September 20.
Had Chinese govt been contacted?
In his tweet, Mansukh Mandaviya said, “Our Seafarers stuck in China are coming back to India! They will reach on 14th January. This could only happen due to strong leadership of @NarendraModi ji”, giving the credit to the Prime Minister.
“I deeply appreciate the humanitarian approach of the Great Eastern Shipping Company towards the seafarers and standing by them in this crucial time! @GE_Shipping,” he shared in another post.
Our Seafarers stuck in China are coming back to India!
Ship M. V. Jag Anand, having 23 Indian crews, stuck in China, is set to sail toward Chiba,Japan to carry out crew change, will reach India on 14th January.
This could only happen due to strong leadership of @NarendraModi ji
— Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) January 9, 2021
Both these vessels have been waiting for discharge of their cargo and there is a growing stress on the crew members on account of the long delay.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Indian Embassy in Beijing continued to remain in close and continuous touch with the Chinese authorities in Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin.
Why were the Indian vessels stuck?
Two ships with 39 sailors aboard – MV Jag Anand and MV Anastasia -were reportedly not allowed by the Chinese authories to either dock or go for a crew change over coronavirus restrictions.
The Chinese foreign ministry too, had earlier said that the vessels were stuck at the ports only because of quarantine measures, dismissing speculations that it stemmed from the ongoing stand-off between the two countries.
Last month, Beijing had denied blocking the movement of ships.
Chinese authorities have been in close communication with Indian side&provided timely assistance&necessary supplies to Indian sailors.China has never denied any vessel departure.Real cause of situation is freight forwarder doesn’t want to adjust plans due to commercial interests.
— Ji Rong (@ChinaSpox_India) December 30, 2020
“Chinese authorities have been in close communication with Indian side & provided timely assistance & necessary supplies to Indian sailors. China has never denied any vessel departure. Real cause of situation is freight forwarder doesn’t want to adjust plans due to commercial interests,” spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India Counselor Ji Rong said in a tweet.