A police enquiry has been initiated into this case to look into details such as negligence of the shipping staff, oversight in passage planning, poor judgement in closing the coast and other aspects. Furthermore, in line with the Merchant Shipping Act, the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping is also conducting an investigation to look into the circumstances.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this announcement, this morning, at the National Assembly, in reply to a Parliamentary Question pertaining to the bulk carrier vessel, MV Wakashio, which got grounded near Pointe D'Esny, Mahebourg.
The Prime Minister indicated that on Saturday 25 July 2020 at 18 15 hours, the National Coast Guard (NCG) Radar Operators first spotted the Panama-flagged bulk carrier MV Wakashio at 11.5 nautical miles in the mcommon sea route and consequently a series of actions were initiated.
In accordance with the standard practice, he said, the Coastal Surveillance Radar System Station attempted on various occasions to establish communication with the MV Wakashio , a first time at 18 15 hours , while adding that the NCG Operations Room was also monitoring the vessel through the Automatic Identification System.
Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth underlined that other attempts to communicate with the captains remained without response, until 20 10 hours, when the Master of the vessel responded to the call made by the NCG and informed that he had lost control of his vessel, which got grounded near Pointe D'Esny, Mahebourg.
Prime Minister Jugnauth also pointed out that the NCG did not receive any distress or MAY DAY signal from the vessel at any point in time and that no distress signal was noted on either the Global Maritime Distress Safety System or the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.
He further stated that the NCG has initiated the necessary actions in accordance with its Standard Operating Procedures, namely gathering of information pertaining to the vessel; informing the Commissioner of Police, the Commanding Officer of the NCG, the Director of Shipping, the Port Master, the Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, amongst others, of the incident and informing the Mauritius Radio Services to broadcast to vessels operating in the area to keep clear of the grounded vessel. In addition, the Oil Spill Team and Divers of the National Coast Guard were mobilised, he said.
The Prime Minister stressed that it is only after the completion of the enquiries that it will be possible to determine the exact circumstances that led to MV Wakashio being grounded at Pointe D'Esny.