The salvage team and the first tug, PSV Stanford Hawk, are currently in Mauritius since July 30 for the salvage exercise of the Wakashio Ship of the Okiyo Maritime Corporation / Nagashiki Shipping Co. Ltd, that has been grounded on 25 July 2020 at Pointe d'Esny after having left China for Brazil with the last port of stop at Singapore.
All crew members of the Wakashio Ship as well as the salvage team were subject to Covid test for which the results are negative. After clearance from the Prime Minister's Office to leave the Port as well as from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, for sanitary measures the salvage team will be allowed to leave Port-Louis for Pointe d'Esny.
These details were given on 31st July by the Minister of Environment, Solid waste Management and Climate change, Mr, Kavydass Ramano, during a joint press conference with the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr, Sudheer Maudhoo, in Port-Louis to shed light on the current situation regarding the salvage exercise to be conducted for the grounding of MV Wakashio at Pointe D'Esny.
He further stated that after clearance from the above-mentioned authorities, the PSV Standford Hawk will proceed to the casualty site at Pointe d'Esny and the Salvage team led by Captain Lars Tesmar, will start an assessment of the works to be undertaken before proceeding to the salvage operation.
Minister Ramano, reassured the population that following the incident, the National Environmental Laboratory (NEL) effected a first sampling exercise of coastal water quality on Sunday 26 July 2020, from Pointe d'Esny to Blue Bay to assess the presence of oil and as at date no oil spill has been observed. He further pointed out that the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan was also activated on 26 July 2020 under the chairmanship of the Director of Environment and since then four meetings have been conducted to analyse and assess the situation.
He added that a regular monitoring programme has been established and includes sites from Mahebourg to Blue Bay whereby indicative parameters such as, acidity, temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, Oil and Grease and Total Hydrocarbons are being analysed.
Minister Ramano, also announced that 332 m booms have been deployed by the National Coast Guard at the entrance of the Blue Bay Marine Park by the Polyeco Society which is arranging for another 500m of fence booms alongside the front of the vessel as a precautionary measure. Moreover, he underlined that testing of sea water quality is being maintained on a daily basis by the NEL and that as at 31 July 2020 no presence of oil and grease was detected. NEL has collected seawater samples at 5 locations namely NCG post, Blue Bay public beach, Pointe d'Esny beach, Pte Jerome and Mahebourg waterfront, he said.
For his part, the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr, Sudheer Maudhoo spoke about the necessary and immediate actions being undertaken by his Ministry since the grounding of Wakashio among which, daily monitoring by a coordination committee to oversee the situation.
He further stated that Rogers Shipping Ltd has been designated to represent the owners of Wakashio and the Salvage company which is the Smit Salvage Pty Ltd. In addition to the first tug the PSV Stanford Hawk which is already in Mauritius, he pointed out that a second tug from Fujairah will reach Mauritius on 03 August followed by a fourth tug on 10 August.
He reassured the population as well as all the stakeholders that government is taking all necessary precautionary measures to prevent any kind of pollution at sea especially with the proximity of the Blue Bay Marine Park. He informed that an enquiry has already started to determine the cause of the grounding and that a first preliminary report of the findings is expected in 2 months and from there the ministry will proceed with the insurance claim.
Regarding the 52 fishermen in the region that are affected by the situation, he added that his ministry will compile a list of all those concerned for insurance claim.