The Japan Transport Safety Board published its preliminary report on the MV Wakashio, saying that the vessel deviated from its normal route near Sumatra, Indonesia, before arriving in Mauritian waters.
n the preliminary report, the Japan Transport Safety Board indicates that the ship’s crew had “no detailed maritime chart when the vessel was approaching Mauritius”.
In addition, the Japanese authority indicated that “the captain instructed the crew members to approach the coast despite this absence of a detailed maritime map to be able to pick up mobile telephone signals.”
Namely, the captain of the Wakashio approved the decision to change course two days before they approached the island. In fact, the original plan was to remain approximately five nautical miles offshore, but the captain approved the course change knowing that the Wakashio did not have navigational charts for Mauritius.
What is more, according to the report, the company’s safety and operations manual for the vessel required that an additional person is on duty on the bridge with the navigator when a course change was being made. However, on July 25 the navigator was alone due to a birthday party.
The manual was also not observed with the requirement to remain at least two nautical miles offshore. Tracing the voyage data, JTSB found that the Wakashio was not on the assigned track at the time of the grounding.
Considering all the parameters, the report calls for better education on the operating procedures and safety manual, especially for the new crew before they join the ship.
More specifically, crews need to be familiar with the ECDIS with increased training and awareness of failsafe systems. They also need to be educated not to take unsafe actions such as approaching the shore for personal reasons.
Finally, JTSB found a fault with the management of the vessel, as it pointed out that there was no system that alerted the companies that the vessel was deviating from the planned course and that the vessel lacked proper charts.
Currently, the report is available only in Japanese.