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China Delays Release Of 16 Stranded Indian Seafarers Over Bureaucratic Issues

China Delays Release Of 16 Stranded Indian Seafarers Over Bureaucratic Issues

As the China stranded Indian ship MV Jag Anand crew returned to India last month, another stranded ship crew’s hopes are dashed in China. MV Anastasia remains stranded in Caofeidian port of China along with its 16 Indian sailors as China delays their release over bureaucratic issues.

Chinese officials haven’t ascertained yet when these seafarers can be released.

The cargo ship MV Anastasia has been achieved at sea since September last year as China prevented the unloading of Australian coal cargo.

On Monday China said that they can’t confirm when the seafarers will be released citing pending bureaucratic procedures which need to be fulfilled for their release.

When asked about the issuance of cargo unloading permit for the ship and allegations of medical neglect the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that Chinese authorities are responding in a timely manner and are discussing all suggestions of crew changes with their Indian counterparts.

Wenbin reiterated that the seafarers are getting aid and it’s up to the ship charterer to adjust.

“We have provided the necessary convenience and assistance while adhering to epidemic prevention rules. As to whether the ship charterer is willing to adjust the shipping arrangement, it is the charterer’s decision to make,” he added.

Previously China denied any link between the stranded ships and weakening Chinese relation with India and Australia.

China Australia relations worsened over Huawei’s 5G network ban in Australia which China retaliated by announcing embargo on Australian products like coal, wine etc. Australia’s push for covid origin investigation in China also miffed Beijing.

Amidst this, India was able to bring home the MV Jag Anand crew via Japan last month after much negotiations by the External Affairs Ministry. The Indian Embassy in Beijing is still negotiating for MV Anastasia crew change although this might take time as Anastasia is not an Indian flagged vessel