4 days since arrival at Vizhinjam port, Chinese ship crew yet to get immigration nod
The first ship from China Zhen Hua 15 docked at Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited on Sunday (Oct 15). The Minister for Ports Sarbananda Sonowal and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan welcomed the first ship.
Thiruvananthapuram: The first ship from China Zhen Hua 15 docked at Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited on Sunday (Oct 15). The Minister for Ports Sarbananda Sonowal and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan welcomed the first ship. Despite, a celebratory reception, there is uncertainty in unloading the cranes from the ship. The reason is that the Chinese nationals who are the crew members of the ship have yet to get permission to land on the berth.
The Adani Group and the state government have stepped up pressure for immigration clearance.
It was initially said that the work to unload the cranes from the ship would start on Monday (Oct 16). However, the process is being delayed. The Chinese crew on board have not yet received immigration clearance to land in India. The Ports Minister had written to the Centre on that day requesting that the employees be allowed to land on the berth to unload the crane. However, there has been no response from the Centre even after four days.
As many as 60 experts of Shanghai PMC have arrived from Mumbai to supervise the crane unloading work from the berth. The ship's crew also has to go down to the berth to lower the tallest crane in India. They will not be able to land without immigration clearance. The same ship used to bring cranes to Mundra Port, which is currently a functioning port, had all the facilities to unload cranes there. However, it is difficult to get permission for foreign nationals to land at the port where the work is in process before commissioning.
At Vizhinjam during the COVID pandemic, special authorization was granted for a crew change. An effort is being made to obtain such approval. Following the crane's unloading on the 20th or 21st, Zhen Hua 15 should depart again. The opposition criticised the government for bringing in the crane as a celebratory act, which has led to the current uncertainty. The government and the Adani Group have increased the pressure for immigration approval.