As the India – China tension intensifies over stranded seafarers in Australian coal-carrying cargo ships in Chinese waters, maritime organization MUI has decided to stage a protest outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi demanding the release of the seafarers.
MUI happens to be the oldest maritime organization in the country.
Silent Protest To Build Pressure
The Maritime Union of India, MUI on Monday revealed that they are planning for a silent protest in front of the Chinese embassy urging immediate release of Indian sailors stuck in 2 vessels in China.
Meanwhile, India has proposed a crew change at sea in order to resolve the Stalemate. Earlier last week, the government assured that they are in touch with China and the 39 Stranded Indian sailors will be brought back soon.
The organization has asked for permission from the Indian government to stage this protest in front of the Chinese embassy on January 11.
A statement given by MUI read, “We have planned a protest in front of The Embassy of the People”s Republic of China in New Delhi on January 11, 2021″
“We have approached New Delhi police to give us the permission for the protest as over 100 MUI members will participate in the proposed ”Dharna” while following necessary precautions such as social distancing, mask, use of sanitizers, etc,” MUI General Secretary Amar Singh Thakur said.
Families Approach MUI for Help
These 39 seafarers have been living in dire countries in 2 vessels, which are one of the 40 cargo ships stranded in Chinese ports like Caofeidian, Jingtang, and Bayuquan.
“Unfortunately, the Chinese government is not permitting these ships into the ports to discharge cargo exported by countries like Australia,” said MUI in a statement. They are working beyond their terms and their families have approached MUI for help, revealed MUI.
Their mental and physical health is severely affected that’s why the organization is seeking immediate release.
The organization stressed the urgency of the matter pointing out that seafarers are designated “Essential Service” workforce under IMO’s Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1968 and hence they can be exempted from Covid restrictions.
No Other Choice But To Protest
MUI informed that several ship management companies have agreed to carry out Ship-To-Ship crew transfer but authorities in China aren’t allowing it. Even the Indian government has proposed a crew change at sea but so far China hasn’t relented.
In such a scenario they are left with no other option to stage a protest, said Amar Singh Thakur who deemed it as “unfair treatment to Indian citizens”.
MUI Seeks ITF’s Help
The organization has further sought help and support from ITF for the immediate release of the seafarers.
As recent as last week, Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had said, “Diplomatic talks are going on for this (release of stuck sailors) successfully. Our seafarers will come to India soon.”
While New Delhi saw this as a backlash from China regarding the deteriorating ties with India and Australia. However, China refuted this claim back on December 25.