The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) investigation report has concluded that MV Wakashio ran aground due to altering its planned route and approaching the coast to pick up mobile phone signals, showcasing low safety awareness.
o remind, the bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground off Mauritius early in the evening of 25 July 2020, spilling about 1,000 tons of fuel oil into a sensitive marine environment in the Indian Ocean. The incident was also worsened by the delayed removal of the wreck, which JTSB noted was a result of adverse weather conditions and restrictions associated with COVID-19.
JSTB had also published a published a preliminary investigation report on the MV Wakashio which can be found here.
The Panama-flagged bulk carrier was chartered by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and owned by Nagashiki Shipping in Okayama Prefecture. The ship with 20 people aboard was heading to a Brazilian port.
The board’s three-year investigation found low safety awareness among crew members, as the ship’s route was altered two days before the accident, reducing its distance from Mauritius’ coast from 22 to 5 nautical miles.
Furthermore, the captain ordered the ship to divert from its planned route and approach the coast without obtaining marine charts of the area, leading to the grounding. Additionally, the the captain had whisky at a crew member’s birthday party.
In late July, Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) published the results of its own investigation into the grounding of the Wakashio, also concluding that the accident was most propably a result of human factor.
AMP’s investigation report also highlighted that the most probable cause of the accident was that the Master did not see the risk during the vessel was passing 5 miles south of Mauritius.