The stranded Indian sailors of the MSC vessel MV Anastasia have finally reached Japan from China and are on the way to their return journey to India.
This is the second China stranded ship crew returning to India. Earlier in January MV Jag Anand’s crew also returned to India via Tokyo. The Anastasia crew is following the same path and will reach India by February 14.
The 16 seafarers that are returning to India on Sunday where stranded with the rest of the Anastasia crew in the Caofeidian port in China as Beijing refused to issue permit for unloading the Australian coal cargo that the ship was carrying.
As many as 50 ships are stranded in China because of this Australian coal cargo ban. After months of negotiations China has finally agreed to selective unloading and crew change in these vessels.
The Indian government along with the National Union of Seafarers India, NUSI have been lobbying for the seafarers release for months now. They were living in dire conditions without proper food and water supply.
Some of them have served the ship for 18months which has taken a toll on their mental health. One of them even tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrist earlier in January.
“We are once again pleased to inform you that the Indian seafarers of “Anastasia” who were stuck at the Chinese anchorage for more than six months have finally reached Japan for a crew change,” said NUSI’s General Secretary, Abdul Gani Serang.
Serang thanked the External Affairs Ministry and the concerned shipping companies MSC and Great Eastern who were the owners of MV Anastasia and MV Jag Anand respectively for their efforts in repatriating the seafarers.
“Today, the seafarers of “Anastasia” have reached Japan and will fly home to India in a few days to reunite with their families. “we appreciate the efforts of Mansukh Mandaviya, Hon’ble Minister of Shipping, Maritime Administration, the Government of India,” read an NUSI statement.
Earlier on Wednesday the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Mansukh Mandaviya had said that the stranded sailors will reach India on February 14.
“Great start of the day! Our stranded seafarers of MV Anastasia are coming back to India! The crew will sign off from Japan today and will reach India on 14th Feb. And soon will be reunited with their families! Appreciate the efforts of Indian Embassy in China and Team MSC,” the Minister tweeted.