After months of the ordeal of being stranded in Chinese waters under terrible conditions 23 Indian seafarers from the Great Eastern ship MV Jag Anand have returned to India. The seafarers landed at the Cochin port today.
Seafarers Reach Home
According to a statement released by seafarers organizations, the Indian seafarers on the ship, MV Jag Anand, who was stuck at a Chinese port at anchorage for over seven months, landed in India at the Cochin airport on Wednesday. The ship was supposed to reach Japan’s Chiba Port on January 15 after China allowed crew change. However, the journey took some time and the ship reached Japan on January 18.
After following covid protocols they then returned to India via the Middle East as no direct flights from Tokyo was available, said a spokesperson from Great Eastern Shipping.
The seafarers couldn’t dock or undergo crew change due to covid restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities. However, the real issue appears to be the China-Australia strained relation which has resulted in an Australian coal cargo ban in China. The ship wasn’t allowed to unload its Australian coal cargo and was stranded.
Seafarers organizations like the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) and the Maritime Union of India (MUI) toiled hard for these seafarers. Another bunch of seafarers is stuck on another ship – MV Anastasia.
Seafarers Receive Grand Welcome
NUSI General Secretary-cum-Treasurer Abdulgani Y Serang said that they are happy that the seafarers arrived at the Cochin Port.
The organization gave the seafarers a grand welcome when the sailors landed at Cochin airport.
“NUSI appreciates the support and direction of Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Director General Shipping Amitabh Kumar, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), the Great Eastern Shipping, individual seafarers, and their family members..in extending support to bring our seafarers back, ” he added.
Seafarers Commitment Applauded
Serang applauded the seafarers’ commitment stating ” it’s a matter of pride that they continued to discharge their duties even in these challenging times”.
Seafarers Community Stood By Them
NUSI and MUI coordinated talks with Great Eastern Shipping and the shipping ministry and the external affairs minister of India regarding this issue. They even took the matter to the Prime Minister’s Office. The ITF strongly supported the cause whereas thousands of seafarers across the world emailed the IMO Secretary-General urging them to act.
Besides this, the seafarers were given adequate counselling while they were onboard and their families were contacted through the NUSI counselling helpline.