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MSC crew with little food, water stranded off China since August

DETERIORATING trade relations between China and Australia are now leaving more seafarers stranded, as dozens of ships linger off the Chinese coast

21 December 2020 - 19:00
DETERIORATING trade relations between China and Australia are now leaving more seafarers stranded, as dozens of ships linger off the Chinese coast.

Ships carrying blockaded Australian coal remain stranded with seafarers reporting self-harm and the declining quality of drinking water, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.



The 75,331-dwt bulk carrier Anastasia sailed from Queensland's Hay Point port on July 19, carrying about 90,000 tonnes of Australian coal, according Second Officer Gaurav Singh.



The Panamanian flagged ship is owned by the Swiss-Italian Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).



The Anastasia arrived at the Caofeidian port in north-east China on August 3, and has been moored in the Bohai Bay ever since, because Chinese authorities prohibited it from offloading its cargo.



Mr Singh told the ABC that 16 out of 18 crew members on Anastasia were from India, alongside a Filipino and a Russian.



'All crew members are now in bad shape,' he said.



Mr Singh said MSC had been supplying food via Chinese agencies, but mental health issues, a lack of medical support, and a decline in drinking water quality were compounding their problems.



'Most of the guys, they are facing medical issues, because they're between 50 and 60 years old.



'The other guys have rashes because the water supplied from China was poor quality.'



He said the crew's isolation has been exacerbated by Covid travel restrictions, which had forced them to stay onboard since joining the ship in November 2019.



Since being stranded near the Chinese coast more than four months ago, the crew has not been contacted by any government or organisation, said Mr Singh.



They're now approaching media in India and Australia to find help.



'We need to go home,' Mr Singh said.


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