Bulk Carrier Aground in Environmentally Sensitive Area off Mauritius
[Brief] A large bulk carrier, the 203,000 DWT Wakashio went hard aground on July 25 in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of the island of Mauritius.
The vessel is in an environmentally sensitive area raising local concerns of an environmental disaster. Fishing vessels are being told to avoid the area around the ship and the Blue Bay Marine Park is nearby on the South East coast of Mauritius. It is a leading tourist destination and considered to be one of the best places to see the marine life.
Details of the accident are unclear but the Japanese-owned vessel was reported at the time to be en route from China to Brazil. There were no reports of mechanical failures or severe storms in the region. Local media is reporting that the ship was traveling at approximately 11 knots and warned that it might be off course prior to the grounding. The area is in a primary shipping lane in the Indian Ocean and has been the site of a number of previous accidents.
The Panamanian-flagged ship reportedly has 3,800 metric tons of fuel oil aboard but it was running empty under ballast to pick up its next cargo in Brazil. So far, there are no reports of oil leaking from the vessel.
Local authorities are investigating and monitoring the situation closely. Officials from nearby Reunion Island have reportedly also offered to provide assistance.
The ship’s owner, Nagashiki Shipping was unavailable for comments. In the meantime, residents on the island were posting pictures and videos of the ship on social media.