‘Working on bringing home 16 Indian sailors stranded in Chinese waters’: India

India on Thursday said it is working with Chinese authorities to finalise procedures to bring back 16 Indian seafarers stranded in Chinese waters for nearly four months.

Last week, another 23 Indian sailors stranded in Chinese waters for almost seven months began their journey home after a crew change was arranged for their vessel at a Japanese port.

The 39 sailors were part of the crew of MV Jag Anand and MV Anastasia, which were carrying Australian coal and weren’t allowed to discharge their cargo at Chinese ports. The situation is believed to be the outcome of the China-Australia trade dispute.

Great Eastern Shipping Company, the owner of MV Jag Anand, decided to undertake a crew change in the Japanese port of Chiba, where the ship will disembark its 23 Indian crew members, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly news briefing. “The disembarking crew will be flown back to their hometowns in India from Tokyo,” he said.

“As regards MV Anastasia, we are closely coordinating with the Chinese authorities who are finalising the process or standard operating procedures to effect crew change at anchorage. As soon as this is received from the Chinese authorities, the company is expected to initiate the process of crew change,” he added.

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