Salvage Continues for Wrecked Cargo Ship in Mauritius

MV Benita aground in Mauritius. Photo Credit: Five Oceans Salvage
MV Benita aground in Mauritius. Photo Credit: Five Oceans Salvage

Salvors of the wrecked MV Benita in Mahebourg, Mauritius have reported progress with the salvage and environmental protection operation after the ship ran aground a week ago after an incident involving one of the ship’s crew members.

Five Oceans Salvage reported Friday that the operation to remove the remaining fuel oil from the vessel’s tanks continues to be a priority, with 80 of the 145 tonnes on board having been pumped into specialized one tonne containers for transfer to shore. At time of update 53 of the containers been transported to shore via helicopter.

Five Oceans also reported no further oil sheens have been observed, however booms and other antipollution measures remain in place as a precaution.

The vessel was in ballast at the time of the grounding which means that there are no considerations needed for cargo removal.

Meanwhile salvage divers have carried out a number of dive inspections in order to further assess the extent of the damage. As previously reported, a number of tanks have taken on water, but the ship itself continues to be stable and remains firmly aground.

Planning for the eventual re-floating and removal of the vessel also continue in conjunction with the vessel’s owners and the authorities.

The tug Ionian Sea FOS, based in Mauritius, remains on site in order provide specialized salvage and antipollution equipment, and a second tug, Coral Sea FOS, is en route and is scheduled to arrive next week.

The 44,000 DWT Bonita was not carrying any cargo when it ran aground last Friday evening (June 17) after a crew member apparently attacked another crew member before locking himself in the engine room and causing damage to the equipment and systems. The insurer of the vessel has blamed the incident on a serious medical episode suffered by the attacker, denying media claims of mutiny on board. The man has since been arrested by local police.