Accessibility.SkipToMainContent
Environment

Union urges Panama to step up after Mauritius oil spill

11 August 2020

Nautilus International has called for the government of Panama to step up, after Mauritius declared a 'state of environmental emergency' on Friday 7 August, when a Panamanian-registered, Japanese-owned bulk carrier that ran aground last month began spilling fuel into the Indian Ocean.

The MV Wakashio – owned by Okiyo Maritime Corporation and Nagashiki Shipping Co Ltd – was carrying nearly 4,000 tons of fuel en route from China to Brazil when it struck a reef on Pointe d'Esny, a known sanctuary for rare wildlife. The accident happened on Saturday 25 July.

Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: 'Japan owns the Wakashio, but the vessel is Panama-registered, which means that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it would be the responsibility of Panama. So, the question is why Panama is not leaping into action?'

Cracks appeared in the vessel's hull last week and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced the state of emergency after satellite images showed a dark slick spreading in the turquoise waters near environmental areas that the government called 'very sensitive'.

He said the spill 'represents a danger' for the country of some 1.3 million people that relies heavily on tourism and has been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

'Our country doesn't have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships.'

On Tuesday 11 August the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced that it was joining the international efforts to assist the Government of Mauritius.

The IMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit have jointly deployed an oil spill response expert.

France announced on Monday 10 August that it is sending a military plane and a naval boat – both carrying pollution control equipment – to help deal with the oil spill after Mr Jugnauth appealed for help.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Saturday 8 August. 'When biodiversity is in peril, there is urgency to act. France is there. Alongside the people of Mauritius. You can count on our support dear Jugnauth.'

On Sunday 9 August, Japan announced it would dispatch a six-member team to assist the French efforts.

A statement made by Nagashiki Shipping Co Ltd on Friday 7 August said 'due to the bad weather and constant pounding over the past few days, the starboard side bunker tank of the vessel has been breached and an amount of fuel oil has escaped into the sea'.


Tags

More articles

Featured
General secretary message

Shining a light on the absurdity of the flag of convenience system

  • Telegraph
  • 19 August 2020
Environment

Union warns of 'trial by public opinion' after Mauritius oil spill

Nautilus International has warned against the criminalisation of crew aboard the MV Wakashio, a Panamanian-registered, Japanese-owned bulk carrier that ran aground off the coast of Mauritius on Saturday 25 July.

  • News
  • 17 August 2020
International

ITF issues crew change warning to Atlantic Container Line at Liverpool

The International Transport Workers' Federation has issued a warning to Atlantic Container Line (ACL) to ensure it abides by its Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) responsibilities and ensures safe crew repatriation following an anonymous tip off from crew in Liverpool.

  • News
  • 11 August 2020
United Kingdom

Maritime minister steps in to support seafarers tax provision

Maritime minister Kelly Tolhurst has stepped in to support Union calls for clarity over specific measures to support seafarers on tax provision during the pandemic.

  • News
  • 10 August 2020
Members at work

Redundant oil and gas workers offered support to transition to new roles in energy sector

Nautilus members facing redundancy in the offshore sector are being offered extra support making the transition to new roles in the UK energy sector.

  • News
  • 10 August 2020
International

Seafarers invited to take part in global research mapping health and wellbeing during pandemic

Seafarers working onboard international vessels are invited to take part in a joint research project on their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic being carried out by UK, Swedish and Australian universities.

  • News
  • 10 August 2020
International

Over-contract seafarers stop two new ships in Australia

Over-contract seafarers stop two new ships in Australia

  • News
  • 07 August 2020
Welfare

Nautilus welcomes new maritime mental health benchmarking survey

Nautilus has welcomed a new benchmarking survey on mental health for employers being conducted in a partnership by Maritime UK, the umbrella body for the £46bn maritime sector.

  • News
  • 06 August 2020
International

Nautilus and ITF unions in solidarity with workers and people of Beirut

Nautilus stands with the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) in condolences and support for seafarers and port workers and families impacted by the explosions at the Port of Beirut that has devastated the city.

  • News
  • 06 August 2020