Thirty-nine sailors, who have been stuck in China for several months amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, will return to India next week, Minister of State for Ports Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted this afternoon. 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.
“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,” Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet, 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.
The Seafarers will reach Chiba Port, Japan on 14th January and after following due procedure related to COVID protocols, they will fly back to India.
— Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) January 9, 2021
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.
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, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said earlier, news agency PTI reported.
With 16 Indians, MV Anastasia is on anchorage near Caofeidian port in China since September 20.
Yesterday, Mr Srivastava had underlined yet again that Indian Embassy in Beijing was constantly raising the issue with the officials concernced. “Our Ambassador (Vikram Misri) has again personally taken up this issue with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister and requested early approval for crew change for Indian crew members aboard two ships MV Jag Anand and MV Anastasia. The ministry is also in regular contact on this issue with the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
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,” spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India Counselor Ji Rong said in a tweet.