Mauritius: Bow of grounded bulker to be towed out to deep water

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Bow section of grounded bulker is to be towed to a point eight nautical miles beyond reefs [Image: Mobilisation Nationale Wakashio]

The bow of the grounded bulk carrier Wakashio is to be towed to 8 nautical miles from the outer limit of the reefs that almost completely surround Mauritius to water 2,000 meters deep.

An statement released at 6:00 p.m. local time today, following the eighth meeting of a National Crisis Management chaired by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, said that the plan to tow the bow section out was approved by three experts sent from France to Mauritius.

The stern section of the casualty remains aground on the reef. As we reported earlier, the bow detached from the stern section on Saturday. The Panamanian-flagged bulker, which is on long term charter to Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL) from owner and manager Nagashiki Shipping Co. Ltd. ran aground off the east coast of Mauritius on July 25.

The crisis committee statement notes that additional near shore booms have been deployed along the shore from Pointe d’Esny to Blue Bay Marine Park. River booms have been placed at Riviere La Chaux, Riviere des Creoles and Riviere Champagne. Additional booms have been placed in the lagoon and the National Coast Guard is constantly monitoring those areas to ensure maximum protection.

The preliminary assessment for shoreline clean-up undertaken by the team of experts from International Tankers Owners Pollution Federation Ltd (ITOPF) and Le Floch Depollution along with local stakeholders has also been carried out. The framework has been approved by the National Crisis Management Committee.

The National Environment Laboratory together with the Ministry of Health and Wellness; Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping and the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, are constantly monitoring the quality of air and marine resources. No volatile organic compound has been detected. A structured monitoring will be performed soon to include the flora and fauna of the region.

Around 884 metric tons of oil liquid waste, 524 metric tons of solid waste sludge and contaminated debris, and 416 cubic meters of saturated artisanal booms have been collected as at mid-day on Monday August 17.

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