MV Wakashio arrives at the wreck site
The Hong Bang 6 barge belonging to the Chinese company Lianyungang Dali Underwater Engineering, contracted to remove the stern of the Wakashio bulker.
On July 25, the Japanese Capesize bulker ran aground on a reef off Mauritius and on August 15, 2020, the vessel broke apart, causing a major fuel spill. Together with three tugs, the arrival of the barge set in motion the dismantling process, which was officially launched on 18 February.
According to Sudheer Maudhoo, Minister of the Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping of Mauritius, the work on removing the wreck from the reef is expected to last one month and depends on the weather conditions.
The Minister confirmed that all measures have been taken to protect the environment from emissions, including the installation of anti-pollution booms in two locations close to the site.
Following a scuttling operation that saw the front of the ship sink in Mauritian waters, Wakashio's bow was sent out to its final resting position on August 24.
Although the court proceedings on the grounding trigger remain ongoing, unsafe activities are the likely causes of the incident leading to a major oil spill, Japanese shipowner MOL said in December 2020.
As the crew allegedly tried to pick up an Internet signal, the bulker diverted from its navigation path, approaching dangerously close to the coast of the island. The captain and his crew reportedly disobeyed the Coast Guard's warnings just minutes before they were detained.
Based on the latest local media reports, this week's court hearings saw the ship's captain and chief officer try to transfer responsibility for the incident against each other.
Apparently, MV captain Wakashio Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, who was apparently not afraid to navigate ships closer to shore in previous instances, even confessed to drinking alcohol on board. His chief officer was also accused of neglecting to obey his instructions and staying 5 nautical miles from the sea.
Maritime Business World