Johannesburg, 19 August, 2020. Greenpeace Africa and Greenpeace Japan react to Mauritius’ plans of sinking the front part of the MV Wakashio vessel. Wakashio is a huge vessel, from the largest capesize category. It is nearly 300 meters long, weighing over 100.000 tons.

Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, said: “Out of all available options, the Mauritian government is choosing the worst one. Sinking this vessel would risk biodiversity and contaminate the ocean with large quantities of heavy metal toxins, threatening other areas as well, notably the French island of La Réunion. Mauritians had nothing to gain from the MV Wakashio crossing their waters and are now asked to pay the price of this disaster. More pollution further risks their tourist-based economy and fish-based food security”. 

The MV Wakashio is being towed by two Maltese-flagged vessels, the Boka Summit and Boka Expedition. As a party to the London Convention 1972, Malta is required to prohibit and prevent its vessels from dumping waste including vessels at sea, if polluting content has not been removed to the maximum extent [1]. 

Ayako Sekine, Greenpeace Japan Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner, said: “Hiding the problem is not going to solve it. By sinking the ship Nagashiki Shipping Co ltd. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are adopting a typical trick of the oil industry – burying their problems and expecting the world to move on. They can choose to do the right thing to reduce the damage to people and the planet at risk.” 

Vijay Naraidoo, co-director of Dis Moi, said: “Dis Moi and Greenpeace Africa stand with the affected communities in Mauritius and expect the polluters to pay for this environmental catastrophe. This means ignoring the cheapest, fastest option and instead putting the ocean and the people first.”


Photos available here with credit


[1] There is an exception if dumping is necessary to secure the safety of human life or of vessels, but this does not apply, since the MV Wakashio’s crew is now in safety and the vessel is already lost. Another exception allows Malta to issue a special permit for dumping “in emergencies, posing unacceptable risk relating to human health and admitting no other feasible solution.” However, this can only be done after consulting other affected countries and the International Maritime Organization, with the obligation that any recommendations from that consultation must be followed to the maximum extent feasible consistent with the time available and the obligation to avoid damage to the marine environment.


Tal Harris, international communications coordinator, +221-774643195 (WhatsApp), [email protected]