Ship Captain, Officer Get Jail Terms for Mauritius Oil Spill

Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar has admitted he was drinking alcohol as cargo ship Wakashio ran aground in July 2020, spilling more than 1,000 tons of fuel into the Indian Ocean near the coast of Mauritius, Deutsche Welle reports. The oil leak resulted in the Indian Ocean archipelago's worst-ever environmental disaster, that saw the captain and officer handed 20-month prison sentences.

The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25, 2020, crashing into a reef. The ship was carrying over 3,900 tons of fuel oil along with 200 tons of diesel. Nearly 1,000 tons of this cargo leaked into the ocean after the Japanese-owned vessel's hull cracked on August 6, 2020. The oil spill's long-term impacts on the island nation's fragile ecosystems will take years to fully comprehend, Deutsche Welle reported at the time. Mauritius had asked Japan to pay close to 3.6 billion yen (€28.5 billion, U.S.$34 million) in order to support local fishermen whose livelihoods were adversely impacted by the oil leak.

InFocus

The Ile aux Aigrettes nature reserve, home to rare species, is only two kilometres away from the Wakashio ship leaking oil in Mauritius' lagoons (file photo).

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