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Aug 30 · Last update 5 days ago.

Should Japan do more about the Mauritian oil spill?

(Picture from the equally as shocking 2019 Northeast Brazil oil spill) The Japanese large bulk cargo ship the ‘Wakashio’ became beached on coral reef off the shore of Mauritius on 25th July 2020. The ship later began to leak oil spilling around 1,000 tonnes of oil over the coming weeks as the ship broke apart. The spill was extremely devastating as nature and marine tourism accounts for a large proportion of the Mauritian economy, and the spill occurred off the coast from the Blue Bay, a marine park and area of international ecological importance. Scientists have referred to the spill as the worst environmental incident in Mauritian history, one which local authorities are struggling to grapple with and that will possibly have lingering effects for decades. With this in mind and considering this is a Japanese ship, despite the Panamanian flag of convenience, should the Japanese government do more to help Mauritius deal with this environmental disaster? news.yahoo.com/japanese-ship-involved-mauritius-oil-052541655.html
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The need for industry reform
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They already did...
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Yes – It was a Japanese ship
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No, responsibility lies with a private Japanese company
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The need for industry reform

The Wakashio environmental disaster caused a significant call for shipping industry reform, with such a large number of natural, environmental and human made pollution and climate-based problems, the world needs a better safety net and coping/clean-up strategies. In the wake of disasters such as the Mauritian oil spill and the Beirut explosion both in 2020, many have highlighted problems with operational safety being an inherent part of global shipping and called for stakeholders to support calls for regulatory reform. However this push could also come from the international community, one baby step towards safer global shipping could be the Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (or HNS) Convention. The proposed convention was created in 1996 but only signed by Canada, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, and Turkey, and never came into force but could build a foundation to better cope with such environmental disaster and encourage better practices in shipping.

unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2451 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HNS_Convention forbes.com/sites/nishandegnarain/2020/09/03/global-shippings-moral-authority-plunges-in-mauritius-as-pope-intervenes-in-wakashio-saga/?sh=6bed23f853a1 aleteia.org/2020/08/31/pope-laments-oil-spill-near-mauritius-as-christians-unite-to-pray-for-respect-of-creation lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1133622/Learn-the-lessons-before-the-next-Wakashio-comes

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D H
Jan 17
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They already did...

The Japanese Government have made significant contributions to the Mauritian clean up effort in the form of personnel, insurance payments, and loans. The 1976 Convention of Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims governs global shipping compensation, which requires companies to have adequate insurance, Japan ratified an amendment to the convention in 1996, so the insurance pay-out could be as high as 7 billion yen. The Japanese government have topped this amount with a further 30 billion yen in loans made to the Mauritian government, while the ships operating company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines pledged to pay 1 billion yen and said publicly that they expect the ships owner Nagasaki Shipping to fund the clean-up also. Japan also sent more scientific personnel in August 2020 to bring the team up to ten scientists.

www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1266 news.yahoo.com/explainer-pays-mauritius-oil-spill-100650445.html english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/12/77f5b987b91e-japan-eyes-offering-30-bil-yen-loans-to-mauritius-after-oil-spill.html aljazeera.com/news/2020/8/19/japan-sends-second-team-to-mauritius-after-damaging-oil-spill msn.com/en-us/news/world/japan-ramps-up-aid-to-mauritius-after-oil-spill/ar-BB183PLm

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Jan 17
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DH edited this paragraph
The Japanese Government have made significant contributions to the Mauritian clean up effort in the form of personnel, insurance payments, and loans. The 1976 Convention of Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims governs global shipping compensation, which requires companies to have adequate insurance, Japan ratified an amendment to the convention in 1996, so the insurance pay-out could be as high as 7 billion yen. The Japanese government have topped this amount with a further 30 billion yen in loans made to the Mauritian government, while the ships operating company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines pledged to pay 1 billion yen and said publicly that they expect the ships owner Nagasaki Shipping to fund the clean-up also. Japan also sent more scientific personnel in August 2020 to bring the team up to ten scientists.

Yes – It was a Japanese ship

The disgraceful negligence of the staff hired by this Japanese company are to blame for this disaster and as a result this does have implications for Japan as a nation and their international image. Early on in the cleanup attempt, Japan sent a six-member crew to aid the effort, but even during this time India had sent 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material, and a team of ten Indian Coast Guards specialising in containing oil spills. In the months following the disaster Japan's aid to Mauritius concerning Wakashio came under fire also, for its lack of transparency, an image that has plagued Japanese aid programs across Africa. Furthermore Japan has been criticised for its involvement in Mauritius as leverage to acquire a better military foothold in the Indian Ocean, along with holding joint military drills with India, one of which, 'JIMEX', took place one month after the Wakashio spill. Japan needs to do more here, to clean up Mauritius on principle, and Japan’s international image with it. Not use the disaster as a geopolitical foothold against the rising international influence of China.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-sends-assistance-to-mauritius-to-help-deal-with-oil-spill/articleshow/77572744.cms news.yahoo.com/mauritius-oil-spill-heavy-winds-113521703.html abc.net.au/news/2020-12-19/japan-mauritius-oil-spill-coral-reef-human-error/12999920 forbes.com/sites/nishandegnarain/2020/12/11/the-rise-and-fall-of-japan-over-the-deadly-mauritius-oil-spill/?sh=35551c8f1e87

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Jan 12
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No, responsibility lies with a private Japanese company

The MV Wakashio was owned by Japanese company Okiyo Martime Corp, itself a subsidiary of the Nagashiki Shipping Co. Ltd., and operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, these three Japanese companies should be assumed liable for the disaster. Japan's government established inspection body carried out an annual inspection of the ship in March, and blame for the accident seems to lie solely with the crew of the vessel, who claimed to be sailing too close to the coast seeking a better Wifi signal. Local police remain skeptical of this claim and have arrested ship captain, Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, a 58 year-old Indian national, on suspicion of negligence. Clearly responsibility lies mainly with Mitsui OSK, who have stated publicly that they doubt whether the incident would have a significant effect on their earnings, they should be heavily penalised and should be the parties to act or pay damages to Mauritius.

english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/08/e102a92bb5f6-mauritius-arrests-captain-of-japan-owned-ship-that-leaked-oil.html news.yahoo.com/japanese-ship-caused-mauritius-oil-061257724.html mol.co.jp/en/pr/2020/20042.html nagashiki-shipping.jp/2020/08/08/%e3%81%8a%e7%9f%a5%e3%82%89%e3%81%9b

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