Mauritian authorities on Tuesday (August 18) arrested the Indian captain of MV Wakashio, the Japanese ship that ran aground near the Mauritian coast and spilled 1000 tons of oil near the Indian Ocean island nation’s protected coastline on July 25.
Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, the captain, an Indian citizen, and his deputy, who is Sri Lankan, were charged under the piracy and maritime violence act and will reappear in court on August 25.
Mr Nandeshwar made an appearance in the district court in the capital Port Louis to hear the charges.
Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar (L), the captain of the MV Wakashio bulk carrier. (Source: The Hindu)
He will be held in a police cell until he returns to court on 25 August.
Officials have yet to reveal why the ship, which was making its way from Singapore to Brazil, had come so close to the island, when the ship was meant to stay at least 16 kilometres from shore but it ran aground just a mile from the island though another theory being investigated is that the ship navigated close to the shore in order to pick up Wi-Fi signal.
Mauritius has said it will seek compensation for the leak from “the owner and the insurer” and Japanese firm Nagashiki Shipping has pledged to respond to requests for compensation.
The Mauritius coastguard had repeatedly tried to reach the ship to warn that its course was dangerous but had received no reply, according to a maritime official with knowledge of the incident who asked not to be named.
Satellite view of the MV Wakashio bulk ship and the point of oil spill
“The route set five days before the crash was wrong and the boat navigation system should have signalled that to the crew, and it seems the crew ignored it,” the official said. “The boat did also fail to send out an SOS (when it ran aground), and did not respond to attempts by the coastguard to get in touch.”
Environmentalists in Mauritius are objecting to plans to pull the bow of the ship — the smaller part of the Wakashio — out to sea and allow it to sink. The larger part of the ship will be dragged off the coral reef where it ran aground and towed away, possibly to India for salvage.
The author has completed his graduation in History. An avid reader, his areas of interests include History and Defense and Security with the sub-continent and southeast Asia being his favorite regions.