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India and Australia’s trade war against China is thought to have caused the sailors to be trapped at sea. The trade conflict has reportedly caused both of the ships to drop their anchors at Chinese ports.
The Swiss-Italian MV Anastasia and the Indian bulk carrier Jag Anand ships were transporting coal to China, according to the Mumbai Mirror.
But the Chinese authorities had refused to let the ships offload their cargo.
This left the vessels with no choice but to wait out the dispute.
China has also not allowed the shipping companies to send in other sailors to replace the crew.
This has caused the Indian sailors to be trapped off the Chinese coast for more than a year.
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Families of the 41 sailors are reportedly “frantically” attempting to bring their loved ones home.
The families have reached out to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India’s home minister Amit Shah.
They have also reached out to India’s ministry of external affairs and various international maritime bodies.
However, the families reportedly said nothing has been done despite their attempts to draw attention to the situation.
The families have said they are worried about the sailors mental health, as well as other issues.
They highlighted how the sailors have nowhere to go and are concerned about the unpredictable nature of the ongoing trade war.
The Anastasia ship has been docked at the Caofeidian anchorage in China’s Bohai Sea since August 2019.
The vessel had 18 Indian crew members who were supposed to be relieved after their six or nine months of duty.
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However, their time was suddenly extended due to the coronavirus pandemic which caused borders to close.
The bulk carrier had set sail from a port in Australia in June 2019 carrying coal with 23 Indian sailors on board.
The ship was refused to offload its cargo due to the tensions between Australia and China which have continued to escalate.
Australia has been openly critical of China’s actions in the South China Sea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Beijing has claimed a large part of the disputed waters as its own.
Australia also supported demands for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus which angered China.
Earlier this year, China constrained Australian beef imports and imposed embargoes onto several Australian commodities, including coal.
Last month, Chinese government spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused Australian of repeatedly making “wrong statements and actions on issues concerning China’s core interests”.
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