Bulk carrier runs aground off Mauritius

A Capesize bulk carrier ran aground on a reef about 900 m off Pointe d’Esny, southeast coast of Mauritius, on 25 July 2020 despite warnings from local maritime authority.

According to the Mauritius Coast Guard (MCG), it tried several times to contact the vessel when its radar systems showed that Wakashio was sailing dangerously close to the shore. However, the captain insisted the planned route was safe. A few moments later, the ship radioed back to say the vessel had grounded on a reef.

The Panama-flagged vessel was sailing from Singapore to Tubarão, Brazil, when the incident occurred.  The ship was still stranded on 26 July, but the heavy swell was preventing a proper assessment. Although there was no cargo, authorities were concerned about the 43,800 tonnes of fuel oil on board. However, pollution prevention booms were in place, and salvage companies were on standby.

The National Emergency Operations Command is monitoring and co-ordinating response activities of the police, the Special Mobile Force (SMF), and the MCG. Operations are taking place under the supervision of Dr Anwar Husnoo, Minister of Local Government and Disaster Risk Management; police commissioner Khemraj Servansing and officer in charge of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; and acting commanding officer of the SMF, Anil Kumar Dip.

The 203,130 dwt Wakashio is owned by the Japanese Okiyo Maritime Corp. and managed by Nagashiki Shipping Company of Okayama-ken in Japan. The ship was built in 2007 and is 300 m in length and 50 m wide with a draught of 12 m. There are 20 crew members on board.