Mitsui OSK will spend ¥1bn to help Mauritius

Japan-based Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd said on Friday September 11th that it would spend about ¥1bn ($9.42m), over several years, on measures to help Mauritius. These would include the clean-up of the island’s mangrove forests and contribution to an environmental recovery fund.

Bulk carrier Wakashio, owned by Japan’s Nagashiki Shipping and chartered by Mitsui OSK, ran aground on a reef in Mauritius on July 25th. Ten days later it began leaking oil, with about 1,000 tonnes devastating an environmentally sensitive area.

Mitsui OSK President Junichiro Ikeda told a news conference on Friday that “the owner of the ship takes primary legal responsibility, but we, as the charterer of the ship, have to bear a social responsibility and take proper measures, as this accident has significantly impacted the environment and people’s life in Mauritius,”

Mitsui OSK plans to contribute about ¥800m over several years to establish a Mauritius natural environment recovery fund and another ¥100m to several local NGOs and funds established by public agencies such as Mauritius government and the UN.

Mitsui OSK added that it would be sending more employees to Mauritius to replace some of the 13 staff already sent. It also plans to provide further support to local fishing and tourism industries. Details for this would be worked out later.

The captain and another member of the crew have been arrested by Mauritius police. The crew were supplied by Hong Kong-headquartered maritime services company Anglo-Eastern Group.

“We have recognised a media report about the investigation by Panama’s authority, but we would like to wait for the results of the inquiry by the Mauritius government,” owner Nagashiki said through its public relations company, MTI Network.

Japan has told Mauritius it would offer support on an “unprecedented scale”, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Monday.