Five Indian Seafarers, including one from Gujarat held in the custody of Chinese authorities since last 20 months and the Indian authorities fail to stand by them, lamented a Twitter user Caption Sanjay Prasher. Apparently, the seafarers are languishing in Chinese jails without any court hearing.
Citing the MV STAR 96 case, the tweet made on 27 December 2021 tagging the Embassy of India in Beijing and the Prime Minister’s office has failed to elicit any response. There was another attempt to nudge the authorities on Twitter about the issue, tagging this time the Ministry of shipping and waterways and the Minister of State for foreign affairs.
The plight of the seafarers and their families waiting for them must be painful. Irrespective of the details of the case, all families would expect their national authorities to stand by their kin stranded on foreign soil. If not, it is natural for a citizen to feel helpless and abandoned.
Indian seafarers in the custody of neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan also often make news. They are often poor fishermen from the coast of Gujarat in the case of Pakistan and Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the case of Sri Lanka, stranded in foreign waters.
As per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, The maritime border of a country is established as the territorial waters of a country extended up to 12 nautical miles (22.227 kilometres) from the low-tide mark of the sea.