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Indian crew on two ships stuck for months at Chinese ports as China does not allow them to unload cargo

Two Indian ships with several crew members on board not allowed to unload cargo by Chinese govt on the grounds of Covid-19 related restrictions

Displaying a vile gesture, China has not allowed two Indian cargo vessels with many Indians on board to unload their cargo at Chinese ports. The Ministry of External Affairs informed the same today, saying that the two cargo ships with a total of 39 Indians on board have been on anchorage in Chinese waters for several months as they were not allowed to unload their cargo, even though some other ships were allowed to do so.

According to reports, Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Anurag Srivastava said that the crew on the ships are under a lot of stress. “There is a considerable amount of stress on the crew members on account of this unprecedented situation”, he said.

Vessels of other countries allowed to unload

China has allowed the vessels of other countries to enter Chinese ports and unload their cargo during the months when two Indian ships with several crew members on board were not allowed to do so on the grounds of Covid-19 related restrictions. However, no case of Covid-19 has been reported so far on the Indian cargo vessels. Srivastava said bulk cargo vessel MV Jag Anand is on anchorage near the Jingtang port in Hebei province of China since June 13. The vessel had 23 Indians on board. The other vessel MV Anastasia is on anchorage near Caofeidian port in China since September 20. It has 16 Indian nationals on board.

Yesterday China had said that it was in touch with Indian authorities regarding the situation of the cargo vessels and the Indian nationals on board. However, it did not say anything about when the crew members will be allowed to leave the vessel.

China citing Covid restrictions

China, on Wednesday, said it was in touch with Indian authorities on the situation of the 23 Indian sailors stranded on a ship anchored off a northern Chinese port since June, but did not say when they will be allowed to leave the vessel. “Our Embassy in Beijing has been in constant touch with provincial and central government authorities in China, requesting that the ships be allowed to dock and/or the crew be allowed to be changed”, said Srivastava.

Srivastava said the Chinese authorities have conveyed that crew change is not being permitted from the ports on account of coronavirus-related restrictions imposed by the local authorities. “We also understand, however, that some other ships, which arrived after Indian ship had arrived, have actually managed to discharge cargo and leave. The reasons for this are not clear,” he added. The spokesperson further stated that  India has taken note of the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement on Wednesday about the provision of necessary facilitation and assistance.

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