The Minister of Maritime Affairs, Naval Architect Noriel Araúz, accompanied by the General Director of Merchant Marine of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), Engineer Rafael Cigarruista, lead the Panamanian delegation that will travel to Mauritius in the next few days to strengthen collaboration with the authorities of that insular country affected by an oil spill from the Wakashio ship, registered in Panama by a Japanese company.
The group will be joined by a delegation led by Japanese experts sent by the Japan Shipowners Association (JSA) with the aim of working in a coordinated way in the pertinent investigations to clarify the causes that could have resulted in the grounding and the subsequent oil spill.
Preliminary reports indicate that the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier WAKASHIO owned by the Japanese company Nagashiki Shipping Co. Ltd. (Nagashiki Kisen KK), with IMO number 9337119, had sailed without cargo on July 14, 2020 from Singapore (Offshore Terminal), bound for Tubarao, Brazil.
Subsequently, on July 25, near the coast of Mauritius, the ship ran aground, without the causes of the event having been determined so far, due to mechanical failure or human error.
The bulk carrier Wakashio passed a Port State Control Inspection in Port Hedland, WA, Australia on February 14, 2020; in addition, on March 1, 2020, the last flag inspection was carried out in Kawasaki, Japan. Both inspections yielded positive results, so that the ship, both in its structure and its equipment, complied with the International Conventions established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
At the time of the accident, this ship was carrying twenty (20) crew members of different nationalities, all with the required certificates for their respective positions and responsibilities on board, as required by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW, for its acronym in English). They also had insurance policies related to the prevention of pollution at sea.
Regarding civil liabilities, these were in force and all were issued by The Japan Ship Owners’ Mutual Protection & Indemnity Association. The operator of the ship has already issued statements on the matter.
The AMP maintains an ongoing contact with the ship’s operators, who have been providing information on operations related to the extraction of the accidentally released oil and control maneuvers.
After this incident, Panama has been fully collaborating with international authorities, thus complying with the provisions of the Code for the Investigation of Maritime Casualties and Incidents, which establishes the joint participation of the States with interest in the investigation of any maritime accident, with the sole objective to try to clarify the causes of the accident and thus be able to issue recommendations in order to prevent accidents of the same nature from occurring in the future.
Source: Panama Maritime Authority