Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has released new details about the July grounding of
the bulk carrier Wakashioin
Mauritius and has detailed measures it’s taking to prevent the type of incident
from happening again in the future.
MOL chartered the
vessel from a subsidiary of Nagashiki Shipping Co.
The MV Wakashio
was unladen when it strayed from shipping lanes and ran aground on a reef off
Mauritius’ coast on July 25. The vessel’s condition deteriotriatd as it as on
the reef and eventually resulted in a breach of a bunker fuel tank on August 6, resulting in
some 1,000 tonnes of fuel to be leaked into the environment and
creating an environmental disaster. The bow of the Wakashio was
eventually towed out to sea and scuttled in late August, but operations
to remove the ship’s stern are still underway and expected to last into next
the flag state are on-going, but MOL has released today details from its own
internal investigation into the accident, clearly pointing to lack of awareness by the ship’s crewmembers.
In today’s reporting on the incident,
MOL offered the following background:
“Two days before the grounding of
Wakashio (July 23), she changed her passage plan-the distance from the coast
when sailing off the island of Mauritius-from 22 nautical miles (Note 1) to 5
“On the day of grounding (July 25),
she tried to further reduce the distance from the coast from 5 nautical miles
to 2 nautical miles, to enter an area within the communication range of mobile
phones and used a nautical chart without sufficient scale to confirm the
accurate distance from the coast and water depth. In addition, a crewmember
neglected appropriate watch-keeping (visually and by radar), even though she
was trying to sail 2 nautical miles off the coast. As a result, she ran aground
in shallow water (10m deep) 0.9 nautical miles off the coast of Mauritius.“
MOL also gave its
determination on probable cause, writing:
of not only the above-mentioned background, but also the fact that she had
approached to other coasts several times even before the incident, they may
have taken unsafe behaviors due to overconfidence that stems from complacency.
In MOL’s view, such behavior on a large vessel reflects a
lack of safety awareness.
behind the cause is that the crewmembers lacked awareness of the guidelines on
performing navigation in a safe manner and their efforts to conform were
insufficient, because they did not prepare an appropriate passage plan that
would have ensured appropriate performance, did not own and use the correct
nautical map, and neglected visual and radar watchkeeping.”
To prevent accidents like the Wakashio
from happening in the future, MOL has pledged to spend nearly $5 million on
measures focussed on addressing the lack of safety and regulatory awareness
among crew members on its owned and chartered vessels; improving ship
operations including by strengthening shoreside support; and installing new
hardware for things like monitoring bridge operations by video and upgrading
onboard communication systems.
MOL has provided details of the
measures on its website.