China ‘ban’ on entry of Indian sailors, says seafarers’ body

NEW DELHI: A seafarer workers’ union has claimed that Indian sailors are losing jobs on China-bound commercial vessels as Beijing has imposed an unofficial ban and is not allowing ships with Indian crew members to berth at Chinese ports. The All India Seafarer & General Workers’ Union said it has written a letter to Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, the directorate general of shipping and the ministry of external affairs on the unofficial “ban” on Indian seafarers from entering Chinese waters as a result of which “21,000 Indian sailors are facing job losses, directly or indirectly”.

Abhijeet Sangle, working president of the Union, alleged, “It’s China’s tactics to isolate our seafarers so as to provide better prospects to its sailors. We have written a letter to Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal, DG shipping and MEA to seriously look into the issue. In fact, I have sent a letter to foreign minister S Jaishankar separately, requesting him to take immediate action. Earlier, this year, our Indian sailors faced a similar problem when China did not allow two foreign ships with Indian crew to berth at its port as a result of which our crew of over 40 members were stranded off China for several weeks.”