Mauritius Govt Arrests Indian Captain and His Deputy for Oil Spill

The ship called MV Wakashio, which is Japanese-owned, went off course and ran aground on a coral reef on 25 July.

1 min read
An environmental emergency was announced in Mauritius on Friday, 7 August, owing to an oil spill.

Mauritian authorities arrested an Indian captain of a ship that spilled around 1,000 tonnes of oil into the pristine waters, his lawyer said according to The New York Times.

The captain, an Indian national called Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, along with the chief officer of the ship, who is a Sri Lankan called Tilak Ratna Suboda, was arrested. They will be in custody till they appear in court again on 25 August, Nandeshwat’s lawyer, Ilshad Munsoor, told The New York Times.

The ship called MV Wakashio, which is a Japanese-owned vessel, went off course and ran aground on a coral reef on 25 July. Over a week later, oil began oozing out of it. More than 1,000 tonnes has now spilled into the blue waters of Mauritius. This could lead to an ecological disaster for the island nation and have massive consequences for the country’s economy and tourism.

According to a BBC report, policemen said the crew members questioned as part of their investigation informed them there had been a birthday party on the ship the day it ran aground. Another theory is that the ship was navigating close to the shore to pick up WiFi signal when the incident occurred, the BBC report added.

NYT reported how, following the leak, thousands of Mauritians have donated money, tried to create awareness and participated in cleanup efforts. Many Mauritians are also angry at the government and want to know the truth behind this spill.

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, BBC reported.

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