After Wakashio, MOL Sets Up Blue-Economy Fund for Mauritius

The stern of the Wakashio off Mahebourg, Mauritius (Mobilization Nationale Wakashio)

Published Dec 1, 2021 11:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

MOL plans to support the development of Mauritius' blue economy after a massive oil spill by one of its chartered-in bulkers left devastating impacts on the Island nation.

MOL was the charterer of the capesize bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which went aground on a reef off Mauritius in July 2020. The vessel broke up and spilled about 1,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the waters of a pristine environmental reserve near the town of Mahebourg, damaging the livelihoods of local fishermen. The vessel's owner has come under fire for the amount of compensation it has paid out over the past year - and for filing suit to limit damages. (MOL, as charterer, is not a party in the case.)

To support Mauritius, MOL has set up a new fund designed to promote recovery and sustainability. The MOL Mauritius International Fund for Natural Environment Recovery and Sustainability will have seed capital of $4.4 million, and will offer grants to firms involved in environmental protection in the island nation.

It is the second fund the Japanese company has set up in response to the devastating disaster. The MOL Charitable Trust was established in Mauritius in June this year with seed capital of $2.6 million. The new fund will be administered in Japan, and it will assist relatively long-term and large-scale projects; the MOL Charitable Trust in Mauritius will support more community-focused measures.

“MOL hopes to support the development of fisheries, tourism and cultural activities, which are the foundation of the Mauritian economy, as well as recovery and preservation of its natural environment and diverse ecosystems such as mangrove forests and coral reefs, and protection and research on wild and migratory birds including endemic species,” said MOL in a statement.

The grants will specifically be targeted towards activities related to recovery and protection of the environment and ecosystems in Mauritius, including restoration, preservation and research measures related to mangrove forests, coral reefs and wild birds, including rare species. Activities related to development of communities such as fisheries, tourism, culture and education will also benefit from the fund, which will be operated by the Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank as a trustee.