The grounding of the Capesize bulk carrier Wakashio on a reef off Mauritius in July 2020 revived the longstanding debate related to criminalization of seafarers. A preliminary investigation indicates that the vessel was off course in an attempt to pick up a wi-fi signal at the time of grounding. The ensuing environmental damage to the coastline was considerable and resulted in a decision to detain the Master and Chief Officer without consideration to bail. Most other crew members are under house arrest in a local hotel pending their appearance as witnesses in an eventual trial.
The first Chinese domestically built ice breaker, Xue Long 2 (Snow Dragon 2) was delivered in 2019 and made her maiden voyage to Antarctica the same year. She is Polar Class 3 and therefore capable of breaking 1.5m thick ice in polar areas. An earlier ice breaker was purchased from Ukraine and modified to China’s requirements.