Splash247 news portal reports that the number of bulk carriers off the coast of China with Australian coal has dropped below 50, but still about 1,000 sailors remain isolated due to the ongoing “quarrel” between Australia and China.
Relations between Canberra and Beijing have deteriorated significantly over the past year. China has banned many Australian goods. 11 capesizes and 37 panamaxes have been stuck in China this week, with some of these vessels pending unloading since April last year. Shipowners, shipping associations and seafarers’ unions are calling on governments and relevant shipping parties to resolve this confrontation. Australian wine, lobsters, sugar, fruits, timber and barley are all on the list of foods that are prohibited by Beijing.
“The seafarers are caught in the middle of a political debate … It is vital that politics be put aside”, – said Ben Bailey, director of advocacy and regional engagement at The Mission to Seafarers.