China makes no commitment on when a ship with 16 Indian crew will be allowed to unload cargo | India News
Crew members of one of the boats that was stranded off the Chinese coast (File photo)
BEIJING: The fate of 16 Indian sailors from a cargo ship stranded outside a Chinese port for six months remains uncertain, as China on Monday remained evasive about when its ordeal would end.
The ship ‘MV Anastasia’ has been anchored near the port of Caofeidian in North China since September 20, waiting to unload its cargo. The ship carries Australian coal.
This is the second Indian ship to suffer such fate.
Previously, another “Jag Anand” ship with 23 Indian sailors, after a six-month wait to unload its cargo of Australian coal, had to travel to a Japanese port to change the stranded crew after the refusal of Chinese officials citing protocols Covid-19.
When asked how long it would take China to allow the ship to unload cargo and complaints from crew members who did not receive medical help in time, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a conference News reports that Chinese officials are in close contact with the Indian side for “responding in a timely manner to requests from the Indian side” and providing practical suggestions on a crew change.
“We have been providing the necessary convenience and assistance to the Indian side in accordance with our COVID-19 protocols,” he said, but gave no indication of when the ship would be allowed to unload the cargo.
It is not clear why China is delaying permitting ships to unload cargo.
In December last year, Wang denied that there was any link between the situation of the Indian crew on two ships stranded in Chinese ports and their strained relations with India and Australia.
Relations between Australia and China in recent months have sunk after Canberra excluded Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies from its national 5G network over national security concerns.
China also resented Canberra’s push for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus in April. Reports from Australia say that China has been restricting a number of Australian exports, including coal.
Meanwhile, ‘Jag Anand’, who changed crews at a Japanese port, rejoined the queue to unload his cargo at Jingtang port.
The shipping company reportedly spent more than $ 1 million to organize the crew change in Japan.