Twenty-three Indian sailors stuck in China will return on January 14, Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday.
The cargo ship MV Jag Anand is set to sail towards Chiba in Japan, Mandaviya said.
“Our seafarers stuck in China are coming to India. Ship MV Jag Anand, having 23 Indian crew, stuck in China is set to SAIL toward Chiba, Japan, to carry out crew change, will reach India on 14th January,” the ports, shipping and waterways minister said in a tweet.
He said this could be made possible only due to the strong leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mandaviya also acknowledged “the humanitarian approach of the Great Eastern Shipping Company towards the seafarers and standing by them in this crucial time!”
On December 30, 2020, he had said that Indian sailors stuck in China will be brought back soon as diplomatic talks are on with the neighbouring country.
Two cargo vessels with Indian sailors on board have been on anchorage in Chinese waters as they were not allowed to unload their cargo, though some other ships have managed to do so.
“Diplomatic talks are going on for this successfully. Our seafarers will come to India soon,” Mandaviya had said in reply to a query about sailors being stuck in China for the last seven months during a Cabinet briefing.
China on December 25 had said that there is no ‘link’ between the stranded Indian ship crew on its Chinese ports and its strained relations with India and Australia.
The statement had come a day after the External Affairs Ministry had said that two cargo vessels with a total of 39 Indians on board have been on anchorage in Chinese waters as they were not allowed to unload their cargo.
“There is a considerable amount of stress on the crew members on account of this unprecedented situation,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said.
Srivastava said bulk cargo vessel MV Jag Anand is on anchorage near Jingtang port in Hebei province of China since June 13 and it has 23 Indian sailors.
Another vessel, MV Anastasia with 16 Indian nationals as its crew, is on anchorage near Caofeidian port in China since September 20, waiting for discharge of its cargo, he had said at a media briefing.
“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,” he had said.
Asked about India’s concern relating to the Indian crew members of the ships and whether China’s decision on this issue has related to the current situation between India, China and Australia, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin had last week told a media briefing that “we stated repeatedly that China has clear stipulations on quarantine measures”.
“Concerning this, China has stayed in close communication with the Indian side and responding to their requests as well as providing necessary assistance for them,” he had said.
“As far as I understand, China allows the crew change while meeting certain quarantine conditions. But this Jingtang port is not in the list for such crew changes,” he had said but did not refer to the 16 crew members of Caofeidian port.
China last month had blamed the freight forwarder of Jag Anand ship for the impasse, saying he is not letting the ship to leave.