Mitsui OSK executive apologizes for Wakashio fuel leak

Mitsui OSK Lines, the operator of grounded bulk carrier Wakashio (IMO 9337119), has apologized for the environmental impact from a fuel oil spill.

Wakashio ran aground off the south-east coast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean on July 25th but it was not until last week that a breach appeared in the fuel tank, which contained more than 4,000 tonnes of fuel. About 1,000 tons are thought to have leaked out so far, while about 500 tons have been salvaged from the ship.

Poor weather has hampered salvage work, and the Mauritian government has said that it was not equipped to deal with such a potential ecological disaster.

Japan will dispatch a six-person disaster relief team, at the request of the Mauritius government, to help with removing the spilt oil, according to a statement by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

“We hope that this assistance will contribute to recovery of the environment of Mauritius and prevention of marine pollution,” the statement said.

Akihiko Ono, executive vice president of Mitsui OSK Lines said at a news conference in Tokyo that “we apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” adding that the company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue”.

France is also sending specialist teams and equipment to Mauritius, which was once a French colony

2007-built, Panama-flagged, 101,932 gt Wakashio is owned by Okiyo Maritime Corp care of manager Nagashiki Shipping Co Ltd of Kasaoka-shi, Okayama-ken, Japan. It is entered with Japan Club (Kobe Office in charge) on behalf of Okiyo Maritime Corp.