Wakashio bow towed away from Mauritius during investigation
The situation in Mauritius remains unclear as authorities continue to seek answers and often contradictory or incomplete reports emerge.
Oil recovery work continues while the captain of the Wakashio, now under arrest, has been brought before the authorities to provide his explanation of the events leading up to the ground and the subsequent oil leakage and break-up of the grounded bulk carrier.
A statement by the owner and manager of the Wakashio, Nagashiki Shipping, confirmed the arrest of the captain and the chief officer of the ship.
“We will continue to support the crew and their families while awaiting future judicial decisions. We sincerely apologize for causing a great deal of inconvenience to everyone in Mauritius and all other parties involved, due to the grounding and resulting oil spill,” said Nagashiki.
According to local media in Mauritius, the captain of the ship started the first of at least two days of testimony today by outlining his experience and qualifications. Tomorrow, his version of events leading up to the grounding on July 25 is supposed to be on record.
Representing the Greenpeace environmental community, Greenpeace issued a statement criticizing both the scuttling plan and the clean-up effort.
“Out of all available options, the Mauritian government is choosing the worst one. Sinking this vessel would risk biodiversity and contaminate the ocean with large quantities of heavy metal toxins, threatening other areas as well, notably the French island of La Réunion," Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager stated.
It is still uncertain what will happen to the stern section of the Wakashio, which remains stranded on the island's reef. According to Nagashiki, it is projected that about 30 metric tons of lubricating oil and residues will remain on board as of August 17.
The local media continues to challenge all of the reasons given for the circumstances leading to the grounding. The newspaper L'Express has also confirmed that one of the shore radar stations has been out of operation for months. They also repeated reports that the Coast Guard tried in vain to contact the ship, possibly days before the grounding.
Maritime Business World