The stern of Japanese-owned bulk carrier MV Wakashio is seen in this August 21, 2020 picture obtained from social media, off the coast of Mauritius. MOBILISATION NATIONALE WAKASHIO /via REUTERS
A contract to remove the stern of the Wakashio has been awarded in Mauritius as the salvage and clean-up continues more than three months after the ship grounded.
The contract was awarded to China-based Lianyungang Dali Underwater Engineering on October 20 by Nagashiki Shipping Co., the manager of the Wakashio. The company is currently mobilizing materials and equipment to Mauritius so it can commence work.
The work is scheduled to start in December with final removal of the Wakashio’s stern expected to be completed by Spring 2021, according to the latest update from Okiyo Maritime Corp. the owner and Nagashiki Shipping Co..
The MV Wakashio was unladen when it strayed from shipping lanes and ran aground on a reef off Mauritius’ coast. As the ship sat on the reef, its condition deteriorated and eventually resulted in a breach of a bunker fuel tank on August 6. An estimated 1,000 tonnes of fuel leaked into the environment. The bow of the Wakashio was towed out to sea and scuttled in late August.
“Of the approximately 1,000 tons of oil spilled from the ship, the recovery of the oil floating on the sea has been completed,” said an update from Okiyo Maritime Corp. the owner and Nagashiki Shipping Co.. “We are currently working on removing the oil that has washed ashore along about 30 km of the coast. Thanks to the efforts of the relevant authorities, local residents, and oil clean up teams, the collection is proceeding smoothly. It is expected that the collection will be almost completed in January 2021.”
“Regarding support for the Mauritius people, we will cooperate with MOL’s Mauritius Natural Environment Restoration Fund. Whilst also fulfilling the responsibility of the ship owner such as continuing coastal oil recovery work, disposal of the rear part of the hull, and investigating the cause of the incident,” the statement said.
MOL was the charterer of the Wakashio and it has sent a team to Mauritius to assist with the cleanup.
Meanwhile, Wakashio’s Captain and Chief Officer have been arrested and face lengthy jail sentences if convicted.
“The cause of the incident is currently being investigated by the Mauritius authorities and the investigation with the Captain is continuing. We will continue to fully cooperate with people of Mauritius and the relevant authorities in Mauritius and Japan in order to investigate the cause of the incident and protect the environment,” the latest statement from Okiyo Maritime said.
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