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Wakashio: Public Access Restricted to Pointe D’Esny

While the beaches in the Southeast region were just reopened at the end of the year, as of today, 8th January 2021, Pointe D’Esny beach will be restricted again to the public as authorities are planning to start working on retracting the stern of the Wakashio from the southeast reefs. 

Pointe D’Esny was temporarily reopened but it was advised to respect a distance of 500 metres from the wreck of the Wakashio. However, authorities have announced the closure of Pointe D’Esny yet again for an indefinite period. The restricted activities are swimming, surfing, diving, fishing, and boat trips as well. 

Mauritian authorities are working to have the stern of the Wakashio removed. There are already 26 members of two refloating companies that are in Mauritius, given that part of this operation can be complicated. 

There are currently two tows accompanied by a barge in Mauritius, namely Magnanimous, flying the Mongolian flag, and Independence which arrived from the port of Singapore. 

However, the work on the stern of the Wakashio will only begin once the 2-tonnes crane ship arrives in Mauritius. It should be in Mauritius within a maximum of 22 days. 

Once the work around the stern of the Wakashio is completed, it will be sent to Port Louis to be cleaned and decontaminated, and then sent to a Mauritian foundry. The total costs of this operation are to be borne by the owner of the Wakashio as well as the insurers. 

What is happening around the case of the Wakashio?

The Court of Investigation surrounding the shipwreck of the Wakashio will start on Tuesday 19th January as well as two other sessions are being foreseen which will be held on the 20th and 22nd January 2021.

The first day will be dedicated to the hearing of the Captain of the Wakashio, Sunil Kumar Nadeshwar, as well as the other members of the crew. 

The Court of Investigation will be presided over by the former judge, Abdurrafeek Hamuth, the hearing will last from 10:00 am to 15:00 pm. Accompanied by two assessors Jean Mario Genevieve, Marine Engineer/Marine Surveyor, and Johnny Lam Kai Leung, Marine Surveyor, they will listen to the crew of the Wakashio in the first place who will have to explain why they approached the Mauritian coasts before coming aground to Pointe D’Esny on the 25th July 2020. 

The court will also listen to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, and Shipping, who will have to submit a preliminary report about the shipwreck. 

There are also a few people who wished to testify in court, amongst them, there is the activist, Jean Bruneau Laurette, as well as the leader of the opposition, Arvin Boolell. The hearing will be opened to the public and will be held in courtroom number 2 at Pope Hennessy Street.