Questions About the Wakashio, and its Maintenance Records

Hello, I am doing a project about the oil spill in Mauritius and I have four questions. I’ll first put down the context and then the questions will follow.

My assumptions for the first context:
For the ship, the Wakashio, the operator makes a set of guidelines that the crew must follow. Now when the crew does these scheduled procedures, they must send the report of the completion of these procedures to somebody. Now I think the crew of the Wakashio must either send the reports to the operator (Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd.) or maybe its classification society (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, commonly known as NKCLASS).

Who receives these reports? Is it the operator or classification society or some other group?

Question 2:
Would the corporation or group that has these dispatched reports from the crew of the Wakashio have an archive of these records? And are these public? I would like to review the reports. And if not from the specific corporation that these reports are sent out to and archived, are there any other websites, companies, groups, or other resources that might also have this information on hand?

Question 3:
How does the procedure of the Wakashio work? I think that whoever these reports are sent to would expect these reports are periodic (e.g. daily, weekly, bi-week, monthly, or even quarterly, yearly based on the task). But this is my assumption and I would like to understand how this works better.

I am trying to understand how ships handle their safety planning and track the status of it? Are there transparency requirements for this type of information? That seems important considering how the oceans are ultimately shared resources by all nations with their import/export, fishing activities, and the environmental impact that maritime activities can have on it.

My assumptions for the second context:

When I was researching for this project I went on the classification society site of the Wakshio, NK Class. When examining the details the website had on the ship (at least publicly) it said on the Status page in the MO Annual Survey that the next inspection was due 4 years ago, and there is no information if this was postponed or not, and there is no information stating that this inspection ever happened and there is no information stating whether or not there has been subsequent MO Annual Surveys done on the Wakashio. The screenshot for this can be seen below:


Now is this normal or does this show that the ship was not properly maintained?

I am trying to understand how ships handle their safety planning and track the status of it? Are there transparency requirements for this type of information?

Well… I cant do ALL your homework for you. But my knowledge is specific to US Petroleum industry.

I would imagine it is pretty much similar, because all these shipping companies use the same ‘risk’ history’ reporting to try to eliminate future incidents and liability.

Everyone involved with chartering has access to these records. (and more) They have access to (among other things) Personnel information (crew experience, age, license, length of time with operator, length of time in industry.) Mechanical repair history. (meaning repair or LACK thereof) Drills. Past records of all the above. Computer repair requests and completions. They use these to contrast and compare from previous audits to ensure corrective action has been and is still continuing.

In my industry every vessel, company and charterer is using both inside and outside vetting to minimize risk.

You (meaning John Q public) cannot just ask for and receive the results of such vetting. You have to PAY for it. And just because you want to pay for it does not mean they will accept payment and hand it over. You have to apply, and be approved to receive such information.

I can only speak to my industry. There are limited vetting organizations in the US. They use MANY individuals (who often work for more than one vetter). However not all customers rely on one vetter. Some companies use one particular vetter. Some will accept audit findings from other vetters, and stamp it as their own findings. Others wont allow any mixing of data and require the specific auditors for their particular vetting company to perform the audits.

For instance, a company (can’t say the name) uses one vetting organization. Another company (can’t say their name but sounds like exhaust mobile) will not accept these audit findings. However all the audit data is accumulated in a audit database. Other companies can purchase this database for a fee.

Think of it like this. The molded dinner plates in the cafeteria with the partitions. You have all the food spooned into various different partitions. Some people (Exxon) will NOT eat out of any else’s partition but their own. Other companies act the same way. They will only eat out of their partition as well. Other companies don’t care whos food it is, as long as they pay for some they will reach over and ‘borrow’ some from others partitions. BUT. If you dont pay for lunch you get NONE.

Regarding the frequency. Most places I have been involved with are monthly (unless failure or audit finding has caused more frequent observation)

Your question will never be allowed to be answered because no company wants outside critique of its SMS from an outside source no matter how innocent your intentions.

Vessels are routinely granted ‘extensions’ on their inspections based upon all of the above. I find it amazing that you could even have access to that screen shot. Never mind expecting to find the updated copy!

Any prospective charter (or owner of the cargo) can (and often do) look up not just the proposed vessels history, but the crew, the company and compare all this info to decide whether or not to charter.

It has not been unheard of for a customer to all of a sudden cancel a contract because of these findings.

Thank you for your excellent reply. Your examples made it very clear how this stuff works. Now I understand that the ship maintenance records are not public but could be reviewed by someone with money to research it. Too bad that is not possible for me to do.

But I am also interested in understanding if the operator has a good corporate reputation and safety record. Would this also fall under private databases that can be paid for or is there more transparency around maritime incidents? Is it realistic for a highschooler to research this? What would be some keywords to investigate an operator’s safety history?

It’s funny you asking these questions. Most people IN the industry don’t know about (or don’t bother to ask such questions!)

There are two underlying criteria that are looked at. A Company and vessel safety record and history.


Charter rate. Some customers will settle for ‘second best’ in order to save money. Others won’t even LOOK at safety but simply price. Bottom line price. Other companies will ONLY pick top tier shipping companies. I have NO idea how an outsider would get access to these vetting results. $$$ and company need I would guess. Best of luck.

Maybe from here?:

Or from here?:

What’s that membership cost? It ain’t for free.

In any case, none of these cover bulkers or other dry cargo ships.

Can’t remember, but I used to have access to both. (No longer active member of either)

Your question is interesting considering the ship just ran aground. Not sure (nor really care) what the “objective” of your effort is really about. You’re asking many questions about the company’s “safety culture” and what was implemented throughout their fleet, versus what were their ships actually doing.

Your final result will tell you many things that you will likely not understand or fully appreciate since it sounds as if you are unfamiliar with things that are in our maritime industry. But I do NOT mean that to be a disparaging comment about you or your project. The real effort here should really be to understand why the ship had this accident. What leads up to the grounding? I truly believe, like so many other accidents, the answer does NOT lie in the reams of paperwork you will be buried in from files of safety audits, etc.

More than likely you will find the answer by probing the company and Mauritius authorities for their findings in their own investigative report. Reviewing tons of files on maintenance records and safety programs won’t lead to the ultimate answer as to why she hit the reef. It may (and usually does) point to a long-running demonstration of how much value the company did actually give to maintaining their ships in a safe condition. Sadly, I think you’ll find that in recent months of global economic struggle that most shipowners were probably putting costs of items and processes dedicated to safety issues on the back burner for now until better profits allowed those items to fall within operational budgets again.

What you need to appreciate is, the Master of the ship placed the vessel on a course that took them towards the reef. A mate on watch actually drove them onto the reef while (supposedly) on the bridge with an AB on the lookout (we assume). Most of all, Mauritius authorities ashore, saw this accident as it was unfolding and literally attempted to call the ship for hours on end, with no reply from the ship. Finally, just “minutes” before the WAKASHIO ran up on the reef at full speed, the Master of the ship actually answered the calls on the radio. He understood their warnings, replied back that his vessel was fine, and insisted he was okay. After hanging up, the ship grounded just moments later. Literally five minutes after that, the Captain called Mauritius Coast Guard back once again and reported he was in trouble now … and his ship needs help.

You need to think about what level of incredulous amount of chaos was happening on the bridge of the ship as they approached this landfall (look at the numerous pictures all over the internet) and had no idea of where they were, where they were headed, and what was about to happen. In training and education, we are constantly told to have “situational awareness” in everything we are doing, especially while standing watch on the bridge and engine room.

You’re not going to find an answer as to why they went aground in a file containing info about a safety audit from six months ago or even six days ago.

We all are aware that the answer is already known by Mauritius authorities, the Captain, and the company. However, as is commonplace, THAT answer won’t be seen in print for a year or more, while corporate authorities shape a written legal statement that minimizes their responsibilities and legal obligations to provide for cleanup costs and liability expenses.

This is how this is always done. No surprise.


It is M0 (MZero) not MO. That is the ClassNK notation for an unmanned machinery space. M0 is completely optional so it is conceivably possible that this particular survey has not been done since 2016 and that in no way would indicate a lack of maintenance. Some companies choose to operate with the engine room manned 24/7 even if not legally required to do so. The rest of the info on that ClassNK page external page shows the vessel to be current on all her surveys.

Most of what you are asking about in terms of maintenance plans and procedures would come under the ISM Code and is specified in the company’s Safety Management System (SMS). The ISM Code is very broad and general, there is not much that is prescriptive or specific. The company’s SMS would lay out the specifics of what maintenance is to be done when and how is it to be recorded and reported. This is mostly internal to the company but may also be reported to a vessels class society. They likely would not proactively send most of this to the flag administration but they would likely have access if they wanted to look… The fact that the company has a valid Document of Compliance and the vessel a valid Safety Management Certificate is the evidence that they are following these procedures.

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Equivalent to DNV’s E0 Class notation that has been used since late 1960s.

I can’t speak to Wakashio’s case, but typically the PMS (database that handles planned maintenance) will upload itself to the office daily or (quite obnoxiously) continuously. The maintenance supervisor or HSE person or I don’t know who-all in the office generate reports when ever they want about whatever they want to, and are emailed brightly coloured auto-generated summaries all the time. These people hate the colour red, and are not too keen on yellow, either; so we do what we can to keep the indicators towards the middle of the visible electromagnetic spectrum. That being said, we need their help to do so. They must buy us the things and send us the hands. basically.