Wakashio Captain’s ‘Wifi’ Story In Doubt Following New Revelations In Mauritius Oil Spill Case

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The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is still reeling from the devastating oil spill caused by the Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned vessel, The Wakashio. More questions are now being asked about the cause of the incident as the original claims start to unravel.

The first day that the Panama Maritime Authorities landed in Mauritius on September 8, they claimed that the captain had ordered a change of course to “find internet or a telephone signal.” 

While this captured many headlines, most in Mauritius were doubtful about this account, given that internet connectivity was easily available even 12 nautical miles off shore, where most vessels on the busy shipping lanes pass by the island.

Many tourists who travel to Mauritius (around 1 million a year), are able to access the internet many miles offshore on catamarans to share photos of themselves on several of the dolphin and whale watching tours or visits to the outlying islands of Mauritius.

Free, unlimited satellite internet available on ship

Such a story about the ‘search for Wi-Fi’ now appears to be even less credible given a statement from Wakashio operator, Mitsui OSK Lines to Forbes this week, that revealed that all crew on Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) vessels have access to unlimited, free satellite internet while on board and at sea.

This means there was no need to be searching for any coastal internet connectivity or telephone signals, given this was a MOL-operated vessel.

In a statement to Forbes on October 6, a spokesperson for MOL said “Our fleet has the most

Concerns About Tampering With Oil Fingerprinting In Mauritius Spill Ship Wakashio

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Newspaper reports in Mauritius this week have raised concerns about tampering with the oil fingerprinting linked to the Japanese-owned vessel, the Wakashio. 

The vessel ran aground amid a network of highly protected areas in Mauritius at the end of July, and was responsible for the biggest oil spill in Mauritius history 12 days later, setting off a State of National Environmental Emergency in the country and an ecological crisis as endangered species on a highly protected reserve were directly impacted by the spill.

In the national Mauritian newspaper, the Le Mauricien on 4 October 2020, a full page is devoted to the concerns about the handling of the oil fingerprinting by the crew of the Wakashio

This comes amid questions about the role of the IMO and ITOPF in not facilitating the rapid oil fingerprinting as thousands of animals have now washed up dead in the South of Mauritius, over 50 whales and dolphins have died, and an entire island of highly endangered species are at risk.

This oil fingerprinting is crucial to understand the potential long-term impacts on these species, as it acts as a DNA signature to help scientists model the impact of the oil on Mauritius’ unique ecosystem.

Serious flaws in handling of oil samples to date

In the article published on October 4, the newspaper identifies several serious flaws with the way the oil sample could

The Battle To Save The World’s Rarest Species From Extinction Following Mauritius Oil Spill

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On Monday September 24, at a virtual meeting hosted by the UN Headquarters in New York, 60 world leaders signed a ‘Leaders Pledge for Nature’ to stop the loss of biodiversity. Heads of State from France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Panama signed.

Noticeably, the embattled political leaders from Japan and Mauritius were not signatories.

The Leaders Pledge in New York was part of an important UN Summit to avoid the world heading into a major period of biodiversity collapse, as planet Earth grapples with the highest extinction rates since homo sapiens became a distinct species, in what has been called the Sixth Mass Extinction. Rather than being caused by colliding asteroids or other natural phenomenon, this new age of extinction is being caused by man.

The front lines of this extinction battle is happening live on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, which is still battling the effects of a major oil spill.

Effects of oil spill disrupting entire island nation

Two months on from the major shipping incident in the Indian Ocean, islanders on Mauritius are still reeling from its effects.  Life is far from returning to normal.

The large Japanese bulk carrier, the Wakashio, hit an important barrier coral reef in the South East of the country, and started spilling heavy ship engine fuel into the pristine coral lagoon and into a network of historic and unique biodiversity sites.