'A preliminary enquiry will soon be concluded and its findings will determine a comprehensive set of terms of reference which would be presented before a Court of investigation. This Court of investigation, with at its helm an Official of the judiciary, will shed light on the circumstances that led to the grounding of MV Wakashio at Pointe d'Esny'.
This statement was made, yesterday, by the Attorney General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, during a press conference held at the New Treasury Building, in Port Louis. The Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard, and the Minister of National Infrastructure and Community Development, Mr Mahendranuth Sharma Hurreeram, were present.
The Attorney General highlighted that Government's priority is to set up the Court of investigation at the earliest. Consultations are ongoing to designate the judicial Officer at this stage, he indicated.
Speaking about claims to be made to the bulk carrier's insurer, Mr Gobin underscored that Government will seek assistance of two experts. An environmental and social assessment of the oil spill will be carried out by one expert, while the other one will deal with the legal claims, he pointed out. The terms of reference are being worked out for the appointment of these experts, he added.
Furthermore, the Attorney General underlined that Government will consult other Small Island Developing States to request exemptions or special provisions in international laws with regards to maritime safety. These exemptions and special provisions will help in further protecting the territorial waters of Mauritius, he stated.
For his part, Minister Lesjongard, expressed confidence that the enquiry will help to determine the causes that led to the grounding of MV Wakashio. He also reassured that necessary measures will be implemented to effectively deal with the ecological disaster that resulted from the wrecking.
As for Minister Hurreeram, he recalled that those people who have suffered losses and have been adversely affected by the grounding of the bulk carrier have been requested to submit their claims and the registration process is currently ongoing. Government will do its utmost best to assist all those who are affected by this ecological catastrophe, he emphasised.