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Indian crew stuck in Chinese waters for 7 months set to return

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2021 Published on January 09, 2021

Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya   -  KR Deepak

GE Shipping-owned bulker was carrying coal from Australia

The 23 Indian crew stuck on board a Capesize bulk carrier owned by the Great Eastern Shipping Co Ltd for some 210 days at Jintang port in North China will be able to get off the ship by the middle of next week when it reaches the Japanese port of Chiba.

The service contracts of all crew on board have long expired, with two officers completing more than 19 months; some of the other crew members are sailing for more than 15 months. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ship’s crew could not be signed off on her previous voyages.

Seafarers can work for a maximum period of 12 months on board ships under international treaties.

Foreign crew is not allowed to sign off in China, nor allowed to go ashore. Only in case of a specified medical emergency such as heart attack or a serious accident on board a crew member can be taken ashore, that too after certfication by a doctor.

‘M V Jag Anand’, a 180,000-tonne bulk-carrier owned by India’s biggest private fleet owner, got caught in the trade war between China and Australia when it arrived at the anchorage of Jintang port on June 13 to discharge some 170,000 tonnes of coking coal loaded from Australia.

The ship has been waiting at anchorage ever since and the delay in berthing has been attributed to lack of import clearance by the Chinese Customs.

Relations between Australia and China have soured in recent months after Australia called for a global probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. China retaliated by imposing restrictions on a range of Australian products including coal.

The Great Eastern Shipping had time-chartered the ship to commodity giant Cargill, Inc. for a year, who in turn had rented the ship to a Chinese entity to ship the coal from Australia.

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Published on January 09, 2021
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