AsiaDry CargoEnvironment

Mauritius PM concedes grounded bulk carrier will break up

Salvors have managed to halt the worst of the spill from the grounded Wakashio bulk carrier off the south coast of Mauritius but authorities concede there is now a very strong possibility the 203,000 dwt Panama-flagged ship will break up soon as cracks in its hull widen.

More than 1,000 tonnes of bunker fuel have seeped from the bulk carrier in and around UNESCO protected reef sites and the ship, which ran aground on July 25 while not following local navigational guidelines, still has around 2,000 tonnes of fuel onboard.

We should prepare for a worst-case scenario. It is clear that at some point the ship will fall apart

Locals have responded to the crisis by making their own homemade oil booms, while the government has come under intense pressure for its slow response to the environmental catastrophe and the island’s lack of oil spill response infrastructure. France is also sending much needed equipment while crowdfunding sites have emerged to try and help with the disaster.

The 300 m long ship is owned by Japan’s Nagashiki Shipping and on charter to Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL). It is insured by Japan P&I Club.

“We confirmed that the crack inside the hull of the ship had expanded. Since this ship is unable to navigate by itself, it is moored to a tugboat so that it will not drift even if it is broken,” MOL stated in a release today.

“The salvage team has observed several cracks in the ship hull, which means that we are facing a very serious situation,” prime minister Pravind Jugnauth said in a televised speech last night. “We should prepare for a worst-case scenario. It is clear that at some point the ship will fall apart,” Jugnauth added.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

Comments

  1. Where is the Master’s statement ?
    What has he got to say ? Have he and other officers who were on on the bridge been arrested ?
    I remember the spanish arresting the Master of the Erika for causing all the pollution, why not this Master.

    1. Because this master did not cause any pollution. The pollution started ten days later of the grounding, when insurers did nothing to recover the bunkers.

  2. Arresting master is not going to help clean up or cost reduction or environmental damage reduction. He can help us to give information and do the case study better. It will be better if MOL or Nagashikki or P and I can engage more tugs and help the breaking bulk carrier to do in controlled manner.

  3. Insurers prefer to scuttle it . But they need tow the wreck to deeper waters first.

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