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ITF calls on owners to follow MSC’s lead on seafarers stranded off China

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called on owners of vessels stranded for many months off China to follow the lead of MSC on crew change.

More than 60 vessels remain stranded off China in an unofficial ban on Australian coal imports with some seafarers having served as long as 20 months onboard.

After over six months of failed crew change attempts for the bulker Anastasia MSC  advised the Master of the vessel to sail to Japan for an exchange of seafarers.

“MSC has led the way by paying the necessary costs and penalties to charterers and cargo owners in order to rescue the crew of their ship, the Anastasia, and see them rescued from their six-month floating prison via a port in Japan” said ITF president Paddy Crumlin.

“We call on all responsible ship owners to follow MSC’s lead and perform these long-overdue crew changes. It will be costly for these shipping companies, but it is absolutely necessary to preserve the health, lives and human rights of these seafarers.”

He expressed concerns that local Chinese authorities had blocked seafarers stranded on vessels in the dispute from accessing medical professionals and hospitalisation.

“A number of seafarers have already attempted suicide on these ships, desperate to end their ongoing suffering. Health conditions are worsening. Medical supplies are running low on some vessels,” Crumlin said.

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