Mauritius Oil Spill: Captain Of MV Wakashio Arrested

Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, the captain of the ship that caused the oil spill on the protected coastline of Mauritius has been arrested on the grounds of endangering safe navigation of a vessel, an offence under maritime laws in Mauritius.

The Indian captain and the chief officer Tilak Ratna Suboda, A Sri Lankan are currently on a provisionary charge, awaiting investigation that begins from tomorrow. The authorities will be questioning all crew members in order to understand what went wrong. They are to appear in court next week, on the 25th of August, 2020.

When MV Wakashio, the Japanese owned bulk carrier ran aground a reef on the 25th of July 2020 and later caused an oil spill of about 1000 tonnes in the region, it led to the Prime Minister announcing an environmental emergency along with swift siphoning operations to drain the remaining oil to avoid a greater disaster.

MV Wakashio Japanese cargo carrier mauritius oil spill
Image Credits: Twitter | Karmagawa / @karmagawa

Salvage operations pumped out 3000 tonnes of fuel just ahead of the ship breaking into two, on Monday. The larger of the two pieces are now being towed to the deeper side of the ocean to be sunk while the engine part remains stuck on the reef. This move has been decided in consultation with the French team.

The oil spill has not only threatened the economy and rich biodiversity of the island country that is hugely dependent on tourism but has also raised concerns regarding the well-being of marine life and the impact of the marine pollution.

The owner of the ship, Nagashiki Shipping has pledged to sincerely respond to compensation demanded by the government. They have also issued an apology. Mauritian authorities and a team by Nagashiki are still finding out what might’ve caused the ship to sail so close to the shore when it had been forewarned about its proximity. The ship was on its way to Brazil from Singapore.

Meanwhile, experts from Japan, France and the United Nations have pitched their efforts to aid the clean-up operation in the sea after Pravind Jugnauth appealed for help. The UN Development Program has pledged $200,000 to aid with the immediate effects of the spill.

Reference: nytimes.com

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