MOL's Action towards the Wakashio Incident (Environmental Recovery and Social Contribution)
- 1. MOL's understanding of and response to the Wakashio Incident
- 2. MOL's relief activities
- 3. Press release briefing on September 11, 2020
- 4. List of press releases related to the incident
1. MOL's understanding of and response to the Wakashio Incident
An MOL-chartered bulk carrier ran aground in the Republic of Mauritius, resulting in an oil spill that had a serious impact on the marine and natural environment, affecting the site, the community, and its industries.
MOL, as the party using the vessel under a charter contract with the shipowner, is committed to contributing to a swift recovery from the oil spill and restoration of the environment and community through specific support activities that meet local needs, such as allocation of personnel and provision of supplies and equipment for the collection of the leaked oil.
At the same time, MOL strives to disclose information on our responses and initiatives regarding the incident through this exclusive site.
2. MOL's relief activities
(1) Activities of employees dispatched to the site
- (updated on November 13, 2020)
- [Handover ceremony for oil absorbents]
A ceremony on Thursday, November 5, marked the handover of oil absorbents donated by Japanese companies to the Mauritius Port Authority (MPA). The MOL dispatched team was on hand, as our company transported the materials. Supplies and equipment have been presented several times since late August.
At this ceremony, MPA Chairman Maistry Ramalingum talked about the dispatched teams' support activities since the incident occurred, and expressed his appreciation for the Japanese companies(*) that contribute to MPA operations through the donation of oil absorbents. The leader of the MOL team also addressed the ceremony, saying it was an honor to attend as a representative of the company transporting the materials, and then signed the handover document.
The MOL Group continues to contribute to environmental restoration efforts in Mauritius, not only through the activities of the dispatched team, but also by transporting supplies to the site from Japan and other countries.
(*) In this case, oil absorbents were provided by the three companies of Showa Denko Materials Co., Ltd., Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd., and NEOS COMPANY LIMITED. In August, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. has also provided materials, which have already been presented to a local organization involved in the cleanup.
The materials to be transported are determined based on local needs, but we have also been receiving offers of materials from many other companies.
- (updated on October 30, 2020)
- [Distribution of original T-shirts and facemasks]
On Friday, October 16, and Monday, 26th, our original T-shirts and facemasks, prepared by MOL, were distributed at the oil spill cleanup site. The T-shirt distribution was based on a proposal from local people after members of the MOL-dispatched team met and exchanged opinions with many residents and groups. The T-shirts are mainly for local citizens, including fishermen who are involved in the cleanup work, to wear as the inner layer of their personal protective equipment (PPE).
The design was selected from among ideas submitted through an MOL internal process in September, and we entrusted a local company in Mauritius with production and delivery. Then all the team members visited the cleanup site to distribute the items.
At the event, the team leader introduced our company, explained the intent of the distribution, and then handed out the unique T-shirts and cloth face masks to many appreciative recipients. We received exceptionally good reviews from local people regarding the design of the blue and white T-shirts. The colors were determined after consultation with the local company about local people's favorite colors. The site was bustling as some cleanup workers changed into their new T-shirts, and some wanted to save the shirts for their families.
This is a small initiative, but we will keep doing our best with other local dispatched teams to conduct activities that convey MOL's wishes directly to local residents.
- (updated on October 23, 2020)
- [2nd-dispatched team completes their assignment; 4th team arrives on site]
- On Friday, October 16, six members of the MOL second dispatched team, who had worked in Mauritius since the end of August, have left the site, and on Thursday, October 22, two new members arrived as our fourth dispatched team. The team plans to officially join local activities after the government-designated isolation period and confirmation of their PCR testing results.
- (updated on October 16, 2020)
- [Visiting local school]
On Friday, October 9, the MOL-dispatched team visited a public school in Bois Des Amourettes, which had been forced to close for four days due to the offensive odor caused by the oil spill. The team presented all students with sets of stationery, origami cranes and shuriken throwing stars, with our sincere hopes that they will find our gifts useful in their studies.
- [Hand-over of the team leader, and future contribution]
On the same day, Friday, October 9, the leader and subleader of the first MOL-dispatched team officially left their posts. With this, the entire first team, who played active roles on site since August 12, completed their missions and returned to Japan.
The seven members of the first team (including one who joined on site after the others) had taken the lead in MOL's activities during the period of turmoil immediately after the oil spill. The team's activities ranged from grasping the status of onsite efforts and serving as a liaison with MOL's task force to determining the types of cleaning equipment and tools, and relief supplies needed and arranging to have them delivered, and sharing information and building relationships with governments of both Japan and Mauritius, organizations responding to the oil spill, NPOs, and the local Japanese Association. We would like to express our thanks to everyone involved and all the people who helped the first dispatched team upon their arrival and throughout their stay.
The MOL-dispatched team have made courtesy visits to concerned government agencies and private organization and explained about the handover. They also have been holding meetings and discussions with concerned local parties to develop stronger relationships before the launch of operations at the MOL office in Mauritius.
Successive teams will play a central role in efforts to further contribute to the environment and communities in Mauritius.
- (updated on October 9, 2020)
- [Origami classroom sessions held at local schools]
On Tuesday, October 6, members of the MOL-dispatched team visited two local schools. At the Special Education Needs (SEN) School they visited in the morning, they created paper airplanes with the children and then went outdoors to see them fly. We also presented other origami works made by the team leader that the students could play with, such as cranes and shuriken throwing stars.
That afternoon, they visited an Elementary School in Mahebourg and presented three origami classroom sessions for fifth- and sixth-grade students. A total of nine team members from MOL took part in the sessions as the origami teacher and assistants, helping all the students fold their own origami cranes. In addition, they donated several books to both schools with their best wishes for local children who were temporarily restricted from playing outside due to the oil spill.
The MOL team on site will continue activities to listen to the voices of local citizens.
- (updated on October 2, 2020)
- [Prospective placement of reefer container determined]
On Friday, September 18, the MOL-dispatched team in Mauritius met with the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping and Agricultural Marketing Board (AMB), and started considering the AMB site as the first choice as the location for the reefer container, which was donated by MOL and delivered on Friday, September 11.
This reefer container was transported from Singapore to Port Louis via an MOL car carrier. The donation reflects MOL's commitment to supporting the lives of those working in the local fishing industry by helping them develop a cold supply chain, based on a request the MOL team received from the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping.
The team will install and set up the reefer container for local people to use as soon as possible, while proceeding with various preparations to provide a power source, install emergency door release switches (panic buttons), and place dividers inside the container so it can be used by several fishermen's unions.
- (updated on September 25, 2020)
- [Third MOL-dispatched team arrived in Mauritius]
New four members as third MOL-dispatched team have arrived at the site on Monday, September 21. In accordance with the Mauritian government's instruction to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they are planned to spend 14 days in quarantine at designated place.
In addition, the first and second MOL team, which have started their activities after a period of isolation, are now conducting their activities in several separated working groups (WG), such as Oil Removal/Cleaning WG, and Logistics/Material Supply WG, etc. They are meeting local organizations and companies for consecutive days and exchanging information with Mauritian and Japanese government officials and Experts. News and progress are planned to be shared here, in our site.
- (updated on September 17, 2020)
- [Courtesy call to the Prime Minister of Mauritius]
On the morning of Thursday, September 10, the MOL-dispatched team have made a courtesy visit to Prime Minister of Republic of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, at the New Treasury Building in Port Louis.
The leader of the dispatched team explained the background of the incident and MOL's stance, and then discussed our future initiatives. The team received favorable comments from the prime minister about the way the country views our initiatives. The prime minister also discussed his expectations for the team of experts dispatched by the Japanese government, support that the country will request from MOL in the future, and so on. In addition, he readily agreed to receive a visit from members of the MOL representative office slated to open in Mauritius after they assume their duties in October, and pledged close cooperation in the future.
- [Public-private delivery ceremony for cleaning equipment]
On the same day, a public-private ceremony to mark the delivery of cleaning equipment was held at Blue Bay Marine Park Centre with concerned parties from both Mauritius and Japan in attendance, including MOL-dispatched team.
Mauritius Minister of the Environment Kavydass Ramano and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mauritius Yoshiharu Kato represented their respective governments at the event. In his opening address, Minister Ramano expressed his appreciation for Japan's ongoing support, including the provision of equipment, other relief supplies. When presenting the cleaning equipment, the leader of MOL-dispatched team said, "The provision of equipment and relief supplies is the first step, and we will continue mid-to-long-term support for Mauritius."
- [Delivery ceremony for reefer container(*1)]
On Friday, September 11, a delivery ceremony for an MOL-donated reefer container was held at a pier in Port Louis after the MOL car carrier Prominent Ace, the vessel carried the container, arrived in port.
This donation reflects MOL's commitment to supporting the lives of those working in the local fishing industry by helping them develop a cold supply chain(*2) and was based on a request the MOL team received during a meeting with the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping. We transported a reefer container from Singapore to Port Louis via an MOL car carrier, which was scheduled to call at these ports.
At the delivery ceremony, the Ministry's Director of Fisheries expressed his appreciation and his hopes for economic support for the fisheries industry in the future. The leader of the MOL team pledged our continued support for Mauritius.
In addition to planning of the optimal location for the reefer container, MOL pledges ongoing efforts on support for local communities and people such as those who depend on the fishing business.
(*1) MOL donated a 40ft (about 12m) container. Refrigeration temperature can be set in the container.
(*2) The donation of the container ensures that marine products can be refrigerated as soon as possible after they are caught and preserved before shipping. The container will help local fishermen who, due to the oil spill, must now go further out to sea to harvest their catch.
- (updated on September 10, 2020)
The first MOL-dispatched team, after completing their 14-day isolation period, began full-scale activities on Wednesday, August 26.
They have examined measures and contributions that MOL can or must do, formulated plans, and put them into action. They listened to the views of more than 50 people representing about 30 organizations in all (Note), including officials from government agencies in both Mauritius and Japan, NGOs and other groups, and the local Japanese Association. The team also participated regularly in local emergency response meetings and worked to gain a thorough grasp of the local situation by gathering information from various perspectives through a designated local shipping agency and gained support to ensure that the team's on-site activities will proceed smoothly.
(Note) As of Monday, September 7
Six members of the second MOL team, who arrived in Mauritius by Sunday, August 30, finished their second round of PCR testing on Saturday, September 5. They are continually engaged in information gathering and holding discussions with concerned parties at their isolation site (a local hotel), in preparation for their activities after Sunday, September 13, when their Mauritius government-mandated isolation period ends.
- (updated on August 28, 2020)
On Wednesday, August 12, six MOL employees arrived on the site, with the aim of cooperating with the parties on the local site and local authorities, collect information, and provide support in preventing the spread of the oil spill and recovering the leaked oil.
- Locally, they were required to isolate for 14 days after entering the country, based on the Government of Mauritius' measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they have focused on collection and negotiations with other parties and planning the action agenda after their isolation. Restrictions on some of the six employees were lifted as an exception, and they are now engaged in activities such as participation in various meetings, negotiation with other organizations. On Thursday, August 27, all of them were permitted to go outside, and since then, they have participated in local emergency response meetings and discussed with the local authorities.
In addition, MOL dispatched experts in inventory and logistics management from one of MOL group companies, MOL Logistics (Japan) Co., Ltd., to handle inventory management and delivery of items needed in cleanup activities on the local site. They left Japan on August 21 and started the work immediately after arriving on the site on Saturday, August 22.
Later on, several employees are scheduled to depart during August. They may be required to isolate for 14 days after entering the country under COVID-19 restrictions as well as the first six members, but they make effort to take measures to meet local needs based on the country's readiness to accept them, and limits on the range of their activities after entering the country.
(2) Procuring supplies and equipment, transporting them to the site
MOL has procured supplies and equipment (*) used to collect and remove leaked oil and arranged for emergency transport. The first items arrived on the site on Sunday, August 23. The six MOL members on the site are in discussions with some of the organizations involved to ensure their effective use in the necessary spots. They received thanks from government leaders including the vice prime minister at the incident emergency response meeting. The second shipment of items were to be scheduled to arrive around Friday, August 28. We will continue planning to provide necessary items for on-site cleanup of the oil spill.
In addition, MOL is arranging a 40ft (about 12meters) reefer container for the site, at the request of those involved with the local fishing industry. In addition, we also plan to send supplies and equipment by container. We will use our car carriers to transport other items.
(*) Oil absorbents, protective suits, helmets, gloves, dust-proof glasses, facemasks, etc.
We will continue to update our activities on this page. MOL and the shipowner are committed to addressing the situation as soon as possible, in cooperation with concerned authorities of Mauritius and Japan.
(3) Organizational response
The "Mauritius Environmental and Social Contribution Team" was established within the MOL Corporate Planning Division as of Tuesday, September 1. The new team's responsibilities are shown in the chart below. Three full-time members were officially appointed and have already started their activities. Furthermore, we plan to enhance the structure of the team by assigning about 10 members who will take part in team activities in addition to their regular duties in other divisions.
|Mauritius Environmental and Social Contribution Team||Initiatives to restore the environment in Mauritius, measures to support communities and industries, negotiations related to the environmental and social contributions (government, environmental organizations and NGOs, communities)|
(4) Dialogue with environmental NGOs and experts
On Tuesday, September 15, we have held an online roundtable with the participation of environmental NGOs acting globally, and experts on environmental issues to exchange views on MOL's support for Mauritius. Representatives from a total of 10 companies and organizations expressed a wide range of opinions on our environmental recovery and local contribution measures announced on September 11.
Helped by these valuable suggestions, we will keep seeking the advice of experts, and continue to implement assistance and contribution activities for Mauritius.
3. Press release briefing on September 11, 2020
4. List of press releases related to the incident
- Sep 11, 2020MOL Announces Initiatives aiming for recovery of Environmental Damage from the Wakashio Incident, and to Contribute to the Mauritian Community
- Sep 01, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius (Update 8)
- Aug 25, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius (Update 7)
- Aug 21, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius (Update 6)
- Aug 19, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius (Update 5)
- Aug 16, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius (Update 4)
- Aug 13, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius (Update 3)
- Aug 11, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius (Update 2)
- Aug 07, 2020Capesize Bulker "Wakashio" Aground off Mauritius
Time line after the incident (local time)
- Sat., Jul. 25 The vessel ran aground on Mauritius Island while underway from China to Brazil (around dawn, Sunday, August 26, Japan Standard Time). The shipowner requested a salvage team on the same day.
- Fri., Jul. 31 The advance team of the salvage company arrived on site by airplane. It required a longer time than a normal dispatch due to require PCR testing.
- Tue., Aug. 4 The second team of the salvage company arrived on site aboard the salvage boat. The shipowner-arranged salvage operation began, but was hampered by adverse weather.
- Thu., Aug. 6 About 1,000 tons of bunker fuel oil on the vessel leaked in the middle of the salvage operation.
- Wed., Aug. 12Besides the oil leaking from the vessel, almost all the bunker oil remaining on the vessel was recovered.
- Sat., Aug. 15 The hull split completely in two.
- Thu., Aug. 19Refloating operation of the forward part of the hull was completed.
- Mon., Aug. 24The forward part of the hull was scuttled in the waters off Mauritius.
Outline of the vessel
Name: Wakashio (bulk carrier)
No. of seafarers: 20 (Indian, Sri Lankan, Filipino)
Flag registry: Panama
Shipowner: Okiyo Maritime (an affiliate of Nagashiki Shipping Co., Ltd.) * MOL time-chartered the vessel