Explainer: How the Mauritius oil spill tanker changed course and ran aground

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RESTRICTIONS: Broadcast: NO USE JAPAN, NO USE TAIWAN Digital: NO USE JAPAN, NO USE TAIWAN
An investigation into Mauritius' worst oil spill has found that the bulk carrier MK Wakashio ran aground after changing course to pick up a cell phone signal for a birthday celebration, according to a statement released by the Panama Maritime Authority on Monday, September 7.

The Panamanian-flagged vessel collided with a coral reef in July and broke apart in mid-August, spilling 1,000 tonnes of oil.

The Panama Maritime Authority found that the Wakashio changed course to get within five miles of Mauritius to pick up a cell phone signal for a crew member's birthday celebration.

The investigation also found that the chart displayed on the Wakashio's Electronic Chart Display and Information System was incorrect and at the wrong scale.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. MK Wakashio on a coral reef spilling oil
2. Locations of Mauritius and Pointe d'Esny
3. Route of the Wakashio from July 16 to July 25
4. Wakashio changes course to get within cell phone range of Mauritius
5. Crew used incorrect chart that made it impossible to verify their approach
6. Pointe d'Esny area after the accident

VOICEOVER (in English):

"The Panama Maritime Authority has officially joined the investigation of the final voyage of the MV Wakashio. The vessel ran aground on a coral reef at Pointe d'Esny, which lies near a marine park and is listed under the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance."

"Mauritius is a small and poor island state in the Indian Ocean. It depends on fish, corals and marine wildlife for food and tourism for its economy. The accident happened at Pointe d'Esny, a coral reef that lies near a marine park and is listed under the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance."

"The Wakashio entered the Indian Ocean on July 16. The Panamanian-flagged, Japanese-owned bulk carrier adjusted course on July 21. The ship then entered Mauritius' exclusive economic zone on July 23. On July 25 It changed course again and collided with the reef off the coast of Mauritius at 7:15 p.m."

"The Panama Maritime Authority confirmed revelations first reported by local newspaper L'Express: The Wakashio made a course change to get within five miles of Mauritius to pick up a cell phone signal for a crew member's birthday celebration."

"The investigation also found that the chart displayed on the Wakashio's Electronic Chart Display and Information System was the wrong chart and the wrong scale. This made it impossible to properly verify the approach to the coast and shallower waters."

"Mauritian waters are home to 1,700 species, according to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Speaking to the BBC, Corina Ciocan, a senior lecturer in marine biology at the University of Brighton, said: 'There are very few such marine areas with such rich biodiversity left on the planet. An oil spill like this will impact almost everything there.'"

SOURCES: Panama Maritime Authority, Forbes, BBC News, The Guardian, Sea Trade Maritime News
https://amp.gob.pa/notas-de-prensa/delegacion-panamena-de-expertos-en-accidentes-maritimos-asiste-en-investigaciones-sobre-el-accidente-de-la-embarcacion-wakashio-en-isla-mauricio/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nishandegnarain/2020/08/09/how-satellites-traced-the-fateful-journey-of-the-ship-that-led-to--mauritius-worst-oil-spill-disaster/#1c683dfa5b42
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53754751
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/07/mauritius-facing-environmental-disaster-after-striken-bulk-carrier-leaks-oil