In surprising news it is reported that the Captain and Chief Mate of the MV Wakashio have pleaded guilty to endangering safe navigation under the Merchant Shipping Act in respect of the grounding which led to the vessel’s subsequent loss 17 months ago.
It is surprising as the Captain has continually professed his innocence saying the Chief Officer was in command at the time of the grounding.
Once the vessel grounded its bows on the reef no action was taken to tow her off, or to hold her bow on the reef with anchors. In strong winds over the next seven days she moved along the edge of the reef subsequently grounding stern onto the reef which sealed her fate. The pounding that she took weakened her hull and on 6 August 2020 the first leaks from her fuel tanks were sighted and some 800-1000 tonnes of fuel oil were lost which resulted in contamination of 35km of Mauritius shoreline and a major effort by local people to build 50km of homemade booms which held some of the oil at sea where is was more easily recovered that being on the shoreline.
The hull separated from the stern on 11 August as was sunk some 20km from Mauritius on 19 August 2020.
The stern section is virtually all now removed from the reef.
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