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Indian sailors trapped in ships get needed help: China


China said on Wednesday it was in contact with Indian authorities about the circumstances of the 23 Indian sailors stranded on a ship anchored in a northern Chinese port since June, but did not specify when they will be allowed to leave the ship.

The sailors are trapped in the MV Jag Anand bulk carrier, which has been anchored off the port of Jingtang in the Bohai Sea in China’s Hebei province.

In another case, at least 16 more Indian seafarers have not been able to abandon their ship MV Anastasia, stranded off the port of Caofeidian in the same province. Beijing has not allowed the 23 sailors to get off the ship in the context of a growing number of imported Covid-19 cases into the country, putting the physical and mental health of the sailors at risk.

There have been no reports of any positive Covid-19 cases on the ship in the past six months at Jag Anand. But that hasn’t stopped Chinese port authorities from implementing strict anti-epidemic protocols, preventing sailors from disembarking. “China has explicit stipulations on epidemic control measures and quarantine of seafarers in ports,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “The local authorities in China have been in close communication with the Indian side and responded to their requests in a timely manner. We also provide the necessary assistance and facilitation while complying with certain quarantine and epidemic prevention requirements, ”Zhao said.

The ship left the port of Gladstone in Australia on May 26, carrying coal, and arrived at the port of Jingtang on June 13. Since then, the ship has been anchored 2-3 km from the port.

HT reported in November that, although local port authorities have not allowed the “change of crew”, through which the crew of a ship can disembark and return to their country of origin, they have been informed that anyone who needs treatment could enter land. temporarily.

However, at least 16 more Indians are trapped in MV Anastasia in front of the Caofeidian port in Hebei. “On board the Anastasia there are 18 sailors, 16 of them Indians, a Russian and a Filipino, who are forced to work at sea for longer than their current anchorage, with crews of up to 20 months, as the ports refuse to let them disembark for fear of spreading. contagion, “said a report in The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, adding that at least four of them were on” suicide watch. “

On December 17, a MEA spokesperson said in a briefing: “Chinese authorities have communicated that due to various Covid-19-related restrictions imposed by local authorities, crew changes are not allowed in these ports. The government continues in regular contact with the Chinese authorities to seek a resolution to these problems.

Hindustan Times