Japan ship deviates from shipping before Mauritius influence, data show

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese owner of a bulk carrier that ran around Mauritius and spilled oil over rough waters and fragile coral reefs pulled more than 100 kilometers from a normal shipping lane, according to data from a maritime analysis company.

A part of the Japanese-owned bulk company MV Wakashio that ran round, can be seen in this August 21, 2020 photo obtained from social media, off the coast of Mauritius. MOBILIZATION NATIONAL WAKASHIO / fia REUTERS

The MV Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping and operated by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd, struck a coral reef off the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25 and later began leaking oil. Two of the ship’s officers have since been arrested on charges of threatening safe navigation.

The iron ore carrier used a well-traveled shipping route that passed through Mauritius when the accident happened, according to maritime analysis firm Windward and shipping sources.

The data showed that it deviated from 102 km to Mauritius and deviated from this orbit. The data shows the track of the ship in the last few hours of its voyage, including a small turn after crossing into the territorial waters of Mauritius.

“It was on a very bad trajectory,” Omer Primor, head of marketing at Windward, told Reuters.

(Open tmsnrt.rs/3j27L5C in an external browser to view a picture of the wreck of the MV Wakashio.)

It was not immediately clear why the ship appeared to deviate from its course. Tracking data for other cargo ships operating near Mauritius recently shows them all in shipping.

Mauritius’ coastguard had tried to reach the ship several times to warn it that its course was dangerous, but received no response, Reuters reported this week.

When asked about Windward’s data, a Nagashiki Shipping spokesman said: “We have submitted our route recording data to the police, but we are unable to comment on the data as the police are investigating the incident”.

The company declined to comment on the report that the Coast Guard had tried to contact the ship. A spokesman for Mitsui OSK, which charters the ship, said it was also investigating the carrier’s course. He declined to comment further.

One regional maritime official said that data from the automatic identification systems (AIS) he had seen did not show the turn of the ship in the territorial waters of Mauritius, but added that it could be due to an invalidity in AIS. data.

The Mauritian government and maritime authorities there did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mauritius said on Thursday it had begun shaking the ship after the plan was announced a day earlier, which had raised environmental concerns about further damage after more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil.

Scientists say the full impact of the game is still lacking, but that the damage could affect Mauritius and its economy-dependent economy for decades.

The risk of wildlife encompasses includes the lizards that cover sand in the shallow waters, clownfish that live in coral reefs, mangrove systems, and the critically endangered Pink Pigeon, endemic to the island.

Report by Aaron Sheldrick; Additional report by Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo and Giulia Paravicini in Milan; Edited by Gerry Doyle and David Dolan

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