[Local News] MV Benita Salvage: Insurer Need To Pay Rs. 438 M To Greek Experts

Five Oceans Salvage will claim nearly half a billion rupees from London P & I Club for the bailout of the Liberian bulk carrier. The State, for its part, has not yet calculated the amount of damage caused by the ship to the environment.

The salvage operation conducted for a month by Greek experts from the Five Oceans Salvage (FOS) company will cost not less than USD 15 million (about Rs 438 million) to London P & I Club.

“Le calcul n’est pas définitif. Cela tourne autour de USD 15 M,” says a source close to FOS. This includes moving a team of 24 people from Greece, the use of Mauritian welders to lend a hand and other incidental expenses such as sending the Coral Sea FOS tug port of Fujairah, the United Arab Emirates.

Rs 36 million to Mauritius police
The London P & I Club will also have to pay close to Rs 30 million to  the Mauritius police for the use of its helicopters and fuel costs. These devices were needed to transport the Greeks and equipment to the ship and the transfer of heavy oil containers on board to land, among others.

The amount of compensation that should be paid to Southeast fishermen and the damage caused to the environment in the lagoon of Le Bouchon that have not yet been calculated by the state. The Minister of ocean economy Prem Koonjoo has put the figure of USD 3 million, Rs 109.5 million, but nothing has been confirmed by the Government.

We should also take into account the living expenses of six crew members who must stay in Mauritius pending completion of the police investigation on the grounding of the bulk carrier and a preliminary Inquiry established under the Merchant Shipping Act. A fight between the lubricator Omar Taton and the 4th mechanic Alvin Maderse was the origin of this accident and the consequences could well have been more severe.

The ship left the port of Paradip in India on June 5 for Durban, South Africa, when Omar Taton assaulted Alvin Maderse. He then turned off the engine in order to alert his comrades and his attacker then locked himself in the engine room, diverting the MV Benita for more than eight hours at 12 nautical miles.

The bulk carrier was successfully salvaged on Saturday July 23 but ended up falling by 4400 meters to 93.5 nautical miles a week later, while being towed to the port of Alang, India, to be in pieces. The structure of the MV Benita seems to have been seriously damaged after violently hit the plateau of volcanic rock at the entrance of the lagoon cap.