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Panama blames poor seamanship and outdated charts in Wakashio accident

Investigations by the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) say the Master of the Wakashio which grounded off Mauritius had deviated from its course to try and find an internet signal.

The AMP issued a statement on the Wakashio accident investigations, citing that vessel deviated from her route and that this change of route “was the result of orders issued by the captain of the ship, who commanded passing about 5 miles off the coast of Mauritius, to look for a telephone and internet signal in order for the crew members to communicate with their families.”

The Panama-flagged Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping and chartered to Mitsui OSK Lines, was making its way to Brazil, from China via Singapore when it ran aground on a reef on 25 July.

However, and although the captain and his officers were on the navigation bridge “no action was implemented to correct the course, and avoid a dangerous situation”, said the AMP. A delegation of investigators is in Mauritius and has been interviewing the crew.

 “With an appropriate assessment safeguard and with good seamanship practices, that should have generated an analysis which would have allowed to carry out the pertinent actions to correct this situation.”

 The AMP also blames the use of outdated charts as it was evident the “erroneous appreciation, with respect to the use of the Electronic Nautical Chart since it seems that the vessel did not have the appropriate chart onboard, actually wrong chart was used and with the wrong scale as well. Therefore, the OOW that did not allow to verify assess properly the approach to the coast and the less deep waters.”

“The lack of supervision and monitoring of the navigation equipment, the distraction generated by the officer of watch, who lost the course of navigation completely, and the excess of confidence during the watch, could be some of the reasons that caused the ship running aground in the beaches of Mauritius,” said the statement.  The AMP’s team of experts is still in Mauritius investigating the accident.

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