M.T.QIAN TAI 1, a cargo ship, has been stranded for more than 50 days at Kakinada Anchorage Port. Wang Zeyan, the Chinese ship captain, has been refusing to permit Indian seamen on board.
Along with other Chinese seamen, the captain has been threatening five Indian crew members, even raising an axe to threaten them when the latter made attempts to enter the vessel.
The stand-off followed had initiated a change in the ownership of the cargo vessel from Seacon Ships Management, a Chinese company, to Singapore-based Oka Ship Management. The matter went unresolved despite the intervention of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
Though the court specified that Indian crew must be permitted on the ship, the state agencies did not follow the order. This compelled the Singapore enterprise to approach the court again demanding the arrest of the vessel.
If the court issues an order in favour of Oka, the Chinese crew will be made to “sign off” with assistance from the local police. They will then be repatriated to their own country.
Inquiries have reportedly revealed that a cargo ship had arrived at the Kakinada anchorage port on 8 July for discharging about 4,000 tonnes of crude palm oil. After handling the cargo, the vessel had been placed at the anchorage port on 12 July. The ship has been stuck since then as the stalemate is ongoing.
Following the signing of the new contract with the shipping liner, the Singapore company engaged the captain, a cook, and two more crew members, who are Indians.
A local agent who had been hired by the Singapore company has reportedly said that following Covid19 protocols, the crew tried to enter the ship but had been denied entry by the Chinese captain and other crew members.
There were 21 crew members on board. Of them, seven were Chinese nationals.