The cargo ship has been stuck off the coast of China since September with eighteen crew members on board, most of whom are of Indian nationality.
MSC says it has now resolved the matter after advising the Anastasia’s master to sail to Japan on February 4. The company informs that the crew is now expected to disembark in Japan on February 10.
The stranded Anastasia crew comes amid backdrop of the global crew change crisis which has roiled the shipping industry since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Making matters worse, China has banned the import of Australian coal amid a trade spat between the two countries, leaving dozens of ships stranded off Chinese ports for several months.
“MSC understands that the company which initially chartered ANASTASIA from MSC had sub-chartered the vessel to a third party and that the commercial parties involved in the selling and buying of the cargo onboard were caught in the ensuing political uncertainty around the trade issue,” MSC said in an update.
“MSC tried to convince the chartering and commercial parties in control of the vessel and its cargo to allow a crew change in various locations before it arrived in Chinese waters, and again while it was at anchorage outside the Chinese Port of Caofeidian, although COVID-19 protective measures closed off many options in China which would normally have been available. MSC prioritised the Japanese option as the quickest and most efficient way to provide the necessary relief for the crew and to enable the ship to subsequently continue in service as it may be required by the charterers.”