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Japan to send help as Mauritius races to contain massive fuel oil spill

43 Comments
By ANDREW MELDRUM and MARI YAMAGUCHI

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43 Comments
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Was the captain asleep at the wheel or what?

Mitsui OSK Lines are going to be hit with a big claim to clear up this mess!

22 ( +22 / -0 )

I know we have bigger fish to fry these days, but this is truly an ecological disaster. How in 2020 (radars, technology, etc...) a tanker can run aground a coral reef is beyond me.

26 ( +28 / -2 )

SURE GUYS It TOOK YOU 2 WEEKS to come out from your hiding.

""At their first news conference since the ship ran aground two weeks ago, the officials said they have sent experts to Mauritius to join in the cleanup effort.""

Only after Al Jazeera reported the accident to the world, and France was already on the ground and sending experts to clean up YOUR mess. Then you hold a news conference after 2 weeks when you could't cover it up anymore.

Shame on you guys.

44 ( +45 / -1 )

An estimated 1,000 tons of oil from the Japanese ship's cargo of 4,000 tons have already escaped into the sea, officials said. Workers were seeking to stop more oil from leaking, but with high winds and rough seas on Sunday there were reports of new cracks to the ship's hull.In Japan, officials of the company that owns the ship, Nagashiki Shipping, and the ship’s operator, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, apologized Sunday for the oil leak.

Mauritius white sand and coral reef won't be the same again, decades ago if something bad like this happened the company leader would step down but recently they only offer a bow while keeping their position.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Only after Al Jazeera reported the accident to the world, and France was already on the ground and sending experts to clean up YOUR mess. Then you hold a news conference after 2 weeks when you could't cover it up anymore.

They did on Friday, faster than any Japanese media.

Yomiuri did reporting on Saturday

https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/economy/20200808-OYT1T50171/

While NHK did that on the same day

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20200808/k10012558041000.html

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The world needs to shift away from this dirty fuel.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

“That’s the big question...Why that ship has been sitting for long on that coral reef and nothing being done.”

ANSWER: to save money. The ship owners were waiting for the full moon (which often brings a higher tide) and hoping the high tide would refloat the ship, without having to spend money for expensive recovery operations.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Another example of the external costs (externalities) that are not included in the price of fossil fuels.

This compny should FULLY compensate for the cleanup and lost tourist revenues.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

The ship was heading empty to Brazil to load iron ore to carry to China to be made into steel. What's leaking is the ship's fuel. Although it's obviously a bad situation, if the ship was a fully laden tanker, it might have hundreds of thousands of tons of oil onboard, so the total size of this spill isn't so big and can be dealt with.

Actually Mitsui OSK aren't responsible - they're the end users of the ship, the charterers - it's the owners who are responsible for safe navigation and getting capable officers and crew to man the ship. This is obviously a serious error by whoever was on watch.

Finally, it's not reasonable to say that the owners have been doing nothing for 2 weeks - they immediately called a salvage company but it's not so simple to pull a ship that size off a reef, and if they don't wait for good weather the result could be worse than the original problem. The priority is to pump the remaining fuel out.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

This compny should FULLY compensate for the cleanup and lost tourist revenues.

Especially given how critical tourism is to the Mauritius economy. The big oil corporations and their shippers need to be held accountable for acts like this one that sounds like it could have been easily prevented.

Far passed time for the globe to shift away from being so heavily dependent on burning so much oil, and being so dependent on big oil. And its wars for oil.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@sakurasuki NHK and the Yomiuri do not report to the world. Al Jazeera does. Most people in the world have no idea what NHK and the Yomiuri even are.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

The AvengerToday  06:42 am JST

I know we have bigger fish to fry these days, but this is truly an ecological disaster. How in 2020 (radars, technology, etc...) a tanker can run aground a coral reef is beyond me.

A new 'Exxon Valdez' incident.

Mauritius white sand and coral reef won't be the same again,

Just like the Gulf of Mexico, and shores of the florida panhandle. Never mind the disgusting mess from the aftereffects of the 1991 Gulf War 'victory'.

We need cleaner energy, more of it and we need to tackle this issue yesterday!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@vanessa

NHK and the Yomiuri do not report to the world. Al Jazeera does. Most people in the world have no idea what NHK and the Yomiuri even are.

Since both of those media based in Japan and speak same language with company that face this disaster, they were expected to make contact immediately and provide coverage compared to other news.

It might in Japanese language for Japanese people but even that they started no later than Al Jazeera. Even other international news that has Japanese language content they can provide earlier information to Japanese people. So Japanese people being inform pretty late about this news if they were using major Japanese news only.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan better get on top of this if this is there own ship!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This is so sad. Why is this in the news only now?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Vanessa Carlisle

 

NHK and the Yomiuri do not report to the world. 

Yes they do. NHK World is an English-language TV news channel available throughout the world. Yomiuiri publishes the Japan News, an English language daily with a globally accessible website.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

MOL in the shipping news again! If you have time, Google the post-Panamax container vessel the MOL COMFORT. Unbelievable photos. I could be wrong but I think the COMFORT accident expedited the ratification of IMO's VGM (International Maritime Organization, Verified Gross Mass) requirement. I think MOL had better send more than just experts but also send lots of grunt labor out to the beaches and lots of money.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes they do.

No they don't. They can "try" but nobody outside Japan without some very specific ties wants to listen to Japan government propaganda news reports in any language.

Precious few people heard about this idiotic man-made disaster via Japanese news outlets because they are NOT reporting to the world as the world does not tune in to them.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It is 4000 tons. Nothing on the scale of a supertanker accident or the Mexican golf borehole disaster a few years back. The media should get a grip.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

OnTheTrail

Why is a ship carrying oil from China to Brazil? I don't understand this shipment.

It was not. The oil is just from its own fuel tank. It is not a sailing ship, you know.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Well Japan, You have almost completely decimated our beautiful oceans. Fished out all the fish, taken all the plants, and destroyed some of the most beautiful places in the world, all for shiny smart phones, sushi bars and plastic packaging........What a world we live in.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

MOL in the shipping news again!

MOL are the charterers of this ship, so they're not actually at fault. The owners are responsible for the crewing & management of the ship, and human error is obviously the cause. 4,000 tons is obviously a lot of fuel but it's not anything like a supertanker spill. I don't blame the Mauritians for being upset, but the clean up will be paid for and no doubt insurance will compensate them handsomely.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Well、let's just be thankful that it wasn't an oil tanker, that would have been a catastrophe. However, this is no picnic, and waiting two weeks seems more like paperwork bureaucracy, something that needs to dealt with at a later date. They just need to get that fuel out of the water, and that cargo ship to the yard, and quick. Good luck.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So that's another one to the 2020 apocalypse bingo.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Why is a ship carrying oil from China to Brazil? I don't understand this shipment."

Shipping is like any other major transport business, it picks up contracts where it can. It's good to see the maritime nations helping each other, as they usually do, but it doesn't explain the lack of early publication by the responsible Japanese business community (not that old "losing face" problem again?), nor why the ship ran aground. If the oceans are rising due to melting ice, can coral reef growth keep pace? If not there should have been more rather than less clearance for the ship. And who was watching the sonar?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why is a ship carrying oil from China to Brazil? I don't understand this shipment.

Because America has banned Brazil from buying Venezuela fuel.

sailing such vessels through pristine ecosystems ( like the accidents in the Great Barrier Reef and the one off the NZ east Coast, Brazil, Yemen etc) is like in heavy rain, wearing black clothes, riding a bicycle with no lights, on the wrong side of the road, holding an umbrella and trying to text friends.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So far there has been NO ACTION by the shipping company or the japanese government. Our oceans and coast lines are facing irreversible damage. It is time to ACT, not to talk and publish articles. I want to see japanese held on the ground, doing something! and this boat was destined for brazil, what was it doing so close my island? was it delivering drugs maybe? either one, i want answers, and rest assured that the people of mauritius will not let this go. Japan will take full responsibility for this.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

In Japan, officials of the company that owns the bulk carrier, Nagashiki Shipping, and the ship’s operator, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, apologized Sunday for the oil leak.

This oil leak is an huge ecological impact of conerns in the oceans yet all it takes to be forgiven is a slap on the wrist with an apology. GREED is what leads to unfortunate disasters.. Hope they save all the marine life they can.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wakashio left China on July 14 and was on its way to Brazil.

Hackers can target a ship's navigation systems, y'know. Just saying.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Holly crap what a mess! from day one, as soon as the radio call goes in for help, the salvage and rescue teams should be deployed, I bet a large bulk of the mess could have been contained by swift actions, this is what you get when you cut corners, it becomes a bigger problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The ship had 4,000 tons of fuel oil on board when it went aground. What I do not understand, besides the question of how it went aground in the first place, is why it is so overwhelmingly difficult to pump the ship's fuel oil off of the ship and into containers?

The article states that efforts have been made to pump the fuel oil into a nearby smaller ship. If two weeks is not enough time to pump the fuel oil off of a grounded ship, how much time do they need? How much time did it take to fill the bunkers with the fuel? A few hours? If nothing else, hoses and pumps should have been set up to evacuate the oil into inflatable, portable tanks ashore, from whence it could have later been removed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Goodlucktoyou

Why is a ship carrying oil from China to Brazil? I don't understand this shipment.

Because America has banned Brazil from buying Venezuela fuel.

Do you guys ever read? The ship was NOT "carrying oil from China to Brazil". In fact, it was empty.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

yakyak

Well Japan, You have almost completely decimated our beautiful oceans. Fished out all the fish, taken all the plants, and destroyed some of the most beautiful places in the world, all for shiny smart phones, sushi bars and plastic packaging........What a world we live in.

Err, what? While Japan has caused some problem, surely nothing on the scale that China is doing?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's interesting that the title almost makes it sound like they are going there on humanitarian grounds and rushing to the rescue, when it's to help cover up a different kind of mess and keep it quiet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

PTownsend ,

Especially given how critical tourism is to the Mauritius economy. The big oil corporations and their shippers need to be held accountable for acts like this one that sounds like it could have been easily prevented.

really the oil companies getting the blame for a ship running aground , how is that their fault?

Its not an Oil tanker its a bulk carrier that only uses oil for fuel.

its a bit like blaming Shell or british petroleum for the car acccident isnt it? Completly illogical.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"The big oil corporations and their shippers need to be held accountable for acts like this one that sounds like it could have been easily prevented."

Sigh. The ship is not an oil tanker. It hauls bulk solids like iron ore. The fuel that is leaking isn't cargo. It is the fuel the ship needs to navigate. How any oil company could have affected this is highly questionable. You just want to blame all and sundry without thinking through what happened.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

" why it is so overwhelmingly difficult to pump the ship's fuel oil off of the ship and into containers?"

Wow. Where to begin. Ever been to sea? Do you have any idea of the forces in the ocean? The ship is aground on a reef. The water is very shallow so anything you bring in close to the ship risks having its hull torn open on the coral. The waves can easily overcome the power of the engines and drive a small craft up on the coral. Now you have two vessels aground leaking fuel. They have been dealing with high winds and bad weather, both of which making operating anything close to shore very difficult to accomplish.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Why is a ship carrying oil from China to Brazil? I don't understand this shipment."

It isn't. It can't. It's a dry bulk carrier, meaning iron ore. it was deadheading empty to Brazil when it ran agound. That is the fuel for the ship's own engines. It's not cargo.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So my question, and one not addressed here or in some other articles on this grounding, is how long has that crew been on that ship with no relief? There is a problem all across the maritime industry in that due to Covid-19 restrictions, routine crew changes have been prevented. Nations have emergency laws that prevent crew members from going ashore during port calls. Nations are not allowing the flights necessary for new crew members to fly out to meet their ships or for existing crew members to fly home. In some cases ships crews have been out as long as 15 months straight without a break and confined to their ships even when in port since February or March. Crews are burning out from lack of rest. They work 12 hour shifts on the ship and usually sign up for a 6 to 9 month contract. Most of these have had to be extended. Keep in mind many of these crews had already worked 5 to 8 months of their contract when Covid 19 retrictions started to turn up last February. They haven't gone home. They are still out there working.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@desert tortoise, thats a good point, I just hope that there is no more accidents due to stressed, tiered crew

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The people of Mauritius are doing the best they can with little resources and help from the outside world trying to contain the oil spill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XHsEMVfQhQ

It Is A Heart breaking story to watch.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Desert Tortoise - the answer to your question is that the officer on watch had only joined the ship quite recently after shore leave. He is / was not anywhere close to the limit of his time onboard in terms of his contract, so fatigue is hardly a good excuse. News is today reporting that he may have brought the ship close to Mauritius because it was his birthday and he wanted to pick up a wi-fi signal to get his birthday greetings...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And now it has become clear: the MV Wakashio altered course, departing from the approved shipping lane to approach Mauritius in order to be near enough to use their Wi-Fi because of a member of the crew's birthday on the 25th of July...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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