- Cargo vessel MV Wakashio ran aground a reef on July 25th, and the bow section has been sunk into the ocean.
- The ship remained stranded on the reef for about 3 weeks when cracks in the hull led to an oil spill of about 1000 tonnes.
- The spill has triggered a nationwide environmental emergency in Mauritius that immediately deployed operations to siphon the remaining oil off the vessel.
- The captain and Chief Officer were taken to a district court in Port Louis to fulfil some formalities. They could face up to 60 years of imprisonment if convicted.
MV Wakashio Captain, if convicted, will be sentenced to 60-year imprisonment, reports Marine Insight.
MV Wakashio runs aground causing major oil spill
Japan’s MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25 causing one of the major oil spills of all time in Mauritius. The vessel spilled over 1000 tonnes of bunker oil into the pristine waters of the popular tourist destination damaging the marine life in and around the accident site.
After three weeks, the cracks deepen in the vessel and it broke into two parts from the middle. After a week of continuous efforts, the bow part of the ship was taken miles away and sunk into the ocean.
Several measures were taken to absorb the oil spilt in the ocean by experts and coast guards and authorities.
Captain of the ship, Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar and Chief Officer Tilak Ratna Suboda were taken into custody following the same. They were held under the charges of “interference with the operation of a property of a ship likely to endanger its safe navigation” under articles 5(1) (b) (2) et (9) of Mauritius’s Piracy and Maritime Violence Act.
If convicted, 60-year-old Nadeshwar and Suboda will be sentenced to 60-year imprisonment under the act.
- As the captain remains in custody, the Government of Mauritius continues to finalize bringing in the Court of Investigation to look into the grounding incident.
- The objective of the Court of Investigation will be to understand the circumstances that caused the grounding of MV Wakashio on Point d’Esny.
- An official of the judiciary is expected to preside. The court will study the series of events that caused the disaster before issuing the verdict.
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Source: Marine Insight