Thursday, December 31, 2020

Oil tanker ran aground because its crew was looking for a stronger mobile phone signal


One of Japan’s largest shipping companies has admitted that the industry’s worst environmental accident this year was the result of the crew of the bulk carrier MV Wakashio sailing too close to shore as they attempted to pick up mobile phone signals.

The 300-metre ship ran aground on pristine coral reefs just off southern Mauritius on July 25, spilling more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel...

The report, released by the Wakashio’s operator Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) on Friday, confirmed that it was meant to be 22 nautical miles off Mauritius during its passage, but that had been narrowed to just two nautical miles “to enter an area within the communication range of mobile phones”.


The EU EQUASIS database also identified nearly 100 safety deficiencies with the Wakashio, several of which were very serious. 


The conduct of the shipowners and operators involved with the Wakashio disaster highlight just why the shipping laws that use offshore ‘Flags of Convenience’ registrations need to be reformed, to bring more transparency and safety into the sector.