Master and chief officer of Wakashio arrested by Mauritius police
The master and chief officer of Wakashio, a landed bulk carrier that split in two off Mauritius and caused an ecological catastrophe, was arrested by local authorities.
On 18 August, the Mauritius Police Force (MPF) arrested the two men on charges of endangering the safety of navigation, confirmed by the Japanese shipping companies Nagashiki Shipping and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), owner of the ship and charterer.
While the cause of the accident is still under investigation, unconfirmed rumors have emerged that the crew celebrated the birthday of a crew member and approached the coast of Mauritius as they looked for a wifi signal.
Wakashio landed on the coral reef off Pointe d'Esny on 25 July with approximately 3,800 tons of very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) on board and 200 tons of diesel oil. At least 1,000 tons of fuel is estimated to have spilled into the ocean.
According to MOL, a team of experts continues to work on the recovery of the residual oil from the sea and coastal areas in order to reduce the environmental effects.
Meanwhile, the towing process of the bulk carrier's bow portion has been initiated. The portion shall be taken eight nautical miles from the outer edge of the reef at a depth of 2000 metres.
As grounding occurred in an environmentally sensitive area, close to marine parks and wetland sites of international significance, Greenpeace Africa described the incident as "the worst ecological disaster on the island" which should lead the shipping industry to move from fossil to green fuels.
Maritime Business World