The captain along with the first officer of the vessel, MV Wakashio, which ran aground on the coral reefs of Mauritius, has been charged guilty as they endangered safe navigation. The vessel’s captain confessed that he had been drinking moderately during a birthday party held on the MV Wakashio when it ran aground last year in July.
Approximately 1,000 tonnes of fuel had spilt into the water, causing an environmental emergency. Mauritius is known for its pristine coral reefs and is a popular destination among tourists globally.
The vessel’s captain named Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar and Hitihanillage Subhoda Janendra Tilakaratna, the ship’s first officer had been found guilty per the Merchant shipping act of 2007 by a Port Louis court.
Nandeshwar reportedly said that he had been ordered to sail in Mauritian waters. This was because that way the crew members could get network receptivity to call up their family members.
The vessel had run aground at Pointe d’Esny, a well-known sanctuary for rare wildlife. The area contains wetlands of international importance.
The investigation revealed that the lookout officer had been permitted to be at the birthday party. This also indicated that he could not make sure if the navigation of the vessel was alright.
Nandeshwar sent abject apologies to Mauritians for the resulting damage. Tilakaratna pleaded to the court for leniency saying that he had not met his family from the time he was arrested.
The pair is yet to be sentenced on the 27th of this month.
Greenpeace Africa had reportedly warned at the time of the accident that several “thousands” of species of animals are at risk of losing their lives in a sea of pollution. It had also mentioned that it would severely impact the economy, health, and food security in Mauritius.