The stalemate over an Indian ship with 23-member crew, which has been stuck outside a Chinese port since six months, is set to continue as China on Wednesday reiterated its reluctance for change of crew, citing the COVID-19 regulations.
The ship, ‘Jag Anand’, carrying a huge consignment of Australian coal to China, has been stuck at Jingtang port since June, with the crew members seeking immediate relief as the vessel remained in the queue since its arrival.
Their plight has been highlighted by the National Union of Seafarers of India, International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the International Maritime Organisation in recent weeks.
The Indian Embassy here is also in regular communication with the local Chinese authorities to find a way out to arrange for the changeover of the crew as they have been stuck on the ship since June.
In addition to the crew of ‘Jag Anand’, the Indian Embassy has also taken up the plight of 16 Indian crew members of a Panamanian ship Anastasia in a similar situation at China’s Caofeidian port.
Asked whether China would allow the change of the crew of ‘Jag Anand’ on humanitarian grounds, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian cited the epidemic prevention measures.
“In China, there are clear requirements on epidemic prevention and control at ports and on quarantine of crew members. These are all based on science,” Zhao told a media briefing here on Wednesday while answering a question on the plight of the crew.
He said local authorities have been in close communication with the Indian officials.