India said Thursday it was working closely with China to bring back 16 Indian sailors stranded on a freighter in Chinese waters for nearly four months.
Thirty-nine Indian crew members are stranded on two cargo ships in Chinese waters, 23 of which stuck aboard the MV Jag Anand are returning to India.
“Regarding MV Anastasia, we are working in close coordination with the Chinese authorities who are finalizing the process or SOP (standard operating procedure) to effect the change of crew at anchor,” said the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs. Anurag Srivastava during a press briefing.
“As soon as this is received from the Chinese authorities, the company (owner of the vessel) should start the process of changing the crew,” he said.
Mr Srivastava said that the MEA and the Indian Mission in China were continuously pursuing the issue of crewing Indian sailors on board the two ships.
<< On MV Jag Anand, the owner, which is the Great Eastern Shipping Company, has informed that he has decided to proceed with the crew change in Chiba, Japan, where the vessel will disembark 23 crew members and hire 23 replacement crew members. The disembarking crew will be flown back to their hometowns in India from Tokyo, ”he said.
Earlier this month, India called for “urgent, practical and time-limited” assistance to the 39 Indian sailors stranded on the two ships, in view of the “grave” humanitarian situation developing aboard the ships .
Citing restrictions related to coronaviruses, Chinese authorities have not allowed ships to dock or change crew for months.
The Indian bulk carrier MV Jag Anand, with 23 Indian sailors, had been at anchor near the port of Jingtang in China’s Hebei province since June 13 last year while the MV Anastasia, with 16 Indians as a crew, was at anchorage near the port of Caofeidian since September. 20.
On January 9, Union Minister of Merchant Marine Mansukh Mandaviya said Indian sailors aboard the MV Jag Anand would reach India this week.