When the Wakashio first sailed into the reef in Mauritius, LALIT sent our analysis to, amongst others, the party in Japan with whom we have contacts because of joint work in the world Anti-War and anti-military-basis movement, the Japan Revolutionary Communist League – RMF. LALIT had met their representatives when one of our leading members, Rada Kistnasamy, attended the Lutte Ouvriere annual festival event a few years back. Since then, we have shown mutual solidarity, including as an example, recently LALIT supported the opposition in Japan to the US bases on Okinawa at a time when there was an outbreak of Covid on US bases, which was spilling over from the bases into the community, where there had been no local cases on the island of Okinawa. Bases there, just like the Diego Garcia base, are beyond democratic control of the people of the country thus occupied.
After Wakashio, the party wrote to us saying that the Mitsui O.S.K Lines Company had in fact subcontracted the ship’s operation to a middle-ranking shipper, Nagashiki Shipping, and the shipper, they said, “did not board its responsible staff”. They added that whether this is the direct cause of not, it must be noted that “the two companies foremost pursued cost-cuts for their profits”, adding that the Mitsui group is one of three big funders of Japan’s successive conservative governments. They also maintain that it is “shameless and unallowable” that the Japanese government and the capitalist companies are shifting responsibilities on to the crew.
This kind of position really helps internationalism. The crew on board become human to us, and not just an item in the news. The crew on board are workers in the unenviably position of being stuck on board a ship in order to earn a living for a family and this in times of the coronavirus epidemic. Two of them, according to press reports, have not managed, because of the pandemic, to put a foot on the ground for over a year. The Captain and first mate are now in a Mauritian prison, on charges of “endangering safe navigation” under the Piracy and Maritime Violence Act. A Court of Investigation presided by the former Supreme Court Judge, Raffick Hamuth, was announced by Prime Minister Jugnauth on 31 August.
LALIT appeals to the Mauritian Government to publish information on what has happened to all the other crew members.
LALIT keeps the party updated, and they circulate documents on the spill and the follow-up amongst their members and others in the anti-war coalition they are part of.