Australia-China row: Humanitarian crisis deepens on stranded vessels

Seafarers are warning of a growing humanitarian crisis aboard dozens of Australian coal-carrying vessels that are unable to dock in China, with shipping companies reportedly unable to pay importers to release the cargo. In the second half of 2020, Chinese restrictions on coal imports from Australia – part of a wider trade dispute between the two nations – left vessels anchored in the Bohai Sea for months on end, unable to offload cargo, divert course or even change crews. “It’s totally devastating,” says Gaurav Singh, a navigation officer aboard Anastasia, which has been unable to dock since leaving Australia’s Hay Point in July last year. “Everyone is in panic, physically and mentally exhausted without any hope,” he tells GTR. Anastasia’s crew of 18, which comprises 16 Indian nationals, one Russian and one Filipino, are now entering their 21st consecutive month at sea. An assessment by a UK-based psychiatrist, arranged by the vessel’s operator MSC Shipmanagement, concluded that “most of the crew are suffering from anxiety and depression issues”, Singh says. One staff member has attempted suicide in recent weeks, he adds, while another dislocated his wrist and had to wait five days before Chinese authorities allowed him to receive medical… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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