Panama is looking to the IMO to help resolve the crisis. Image Credit: Ship & Bunker
Panama's authorities are seeking the assistance of the International Maritime Organization in helping the seafarers stuck on bulkers waiting off the coast of China with coal cargoes from Australia.
China unofficially halted coal imports from Australia last year in an apparent retaliation for a diplomatic war of words between the two countries. Since then there has been a build-up of bulk carriers carrying Australian coal cargoes waiting off the coast of China for a resolution to the crisis or further instructions.
The situation now affects 74 ships and more than 1,500 crew members of various nationalities, the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) said in an emailed statement on Sunday.
"Our mission in this regard is to dins a reasonable and positive solution so that the crew of these ships are returned home," Noriel Arauz, Panama's minister for maritime affairs, said in the statement.
Panama is requesting the IMO's help in demonstrating that the human rights and welfare of the seafarers involved is being harmed by the ongoing commercial dispute.