To remind, the bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground off Mauritius early in the evening of 25 July 2020, attracting significant media attention for several weeks following the occurrence, as fuel oil started leaking from the vessel in the environmentally sensitive region and adverse weather conditions impeded proper response.
Earlier in January, a media article reported that MOL knew the oil onboard exceeded engine safety limits and they were concerned during the Wakashio’s final voyage that this fuel could cause serious engine failure, which they attempted to communicate to the ship’s crew.
However, MOL denied these reports, noting there have been no mechanical issues involved in the grounding, which appears “to have been solely due to safety and navigational issues”.
There have been no reports whatsoever that the Wakashio had any mechanical or fuel problems in the period leading up to the grounding and the article produces no such evidence,
The Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) purchased by MOL as time charterer and loaded in Singapore was fully tested by our Fuel Quality Testing System which showed that the supplied oil was fully on specification with international standards including ISO-8217-2020. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that there were problems with the fuel oil or the use of that fuel in the main engine of the Wakashio that could have caused the incident,
…the company clarified.
The same media report suggested that oil major BP formally blocked the investigation into the fuel that was being used onboard the large bulk carrier, an accusation also denied by the company.
In December, MOL stated that the probable cause of the incident was the crew’s unsafe behaviors due to overconfidence that stems from complacency, while it issued a thorough list of safety measures to prevent such incidents in the future. The measures announced aim, among others, to address the lack of safety awareness and boost ship operation quality.
In addition, MOL now revealed its intentions to cooperate with a Mauritius-based NGO to support their project of mangrove surveys and conservation activities.
The cause of the incident is being investigated by local authorities and is expected to become public in the Mauritius courts in due course.