Mauritius tows MV Wakashio as it arrests its officers

Courtesy of the IMO

The captain of the bulk carrier Wakashio was arrested by the Government of Mauritius today while it also moved ahead with the plans to tow the forward section of the wrecked ship out to sea and sink it. All of this was happening due to the increasing questions emerging over why the vessel ran aground on July 25.

Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, who was in command of the Wakashio on its voyage to Brazil, was re-interviewed by the authorities who later announced that he had been placed under arrest. The New York Times also reported that the ship’s chief officer was later arrested. The captain was brought before a district court on Mauritius and charged with endangering safe navigation. He was remanded to jail with his next court appearance scheduled for August 25. Representatives for the ship’s owners have so far not responded to requests for comments regarding the arrests.

Several investigations are ongoing but one thing remains, that, regardless of the motives, or whose negligence or fault it was, the outcome is the same that Mauritius is confronted by the oil spill in a highly sensitive ecological area. The wind and the waves have continued to spread the oil complicating the efforts to contain the spill.

After saying the sea conditions were too rough to work on the vessel, images appeared today of the large forward section being towed out to sea. All of the cargo hatches were open and it is believed that they are proceeding with a plan to sink the forward section in deep water. It is unclear how far out they are taking the section as some reports have suggested a little more than one mile while others said six miles and still others suggest further out into international waters.

The efforts to sink the portion of the Wakashio appeared to come as a surprise to many. France’s minister after suggesting it could take at least 10 months to complete the clean-up said yesterday that several different plans were under consideration and today reportedly raised concerns about the environmental impact from the sinking. Environmentalists also questioned the plan and the area that they believe was selected for the sinking. Forbes quoted environmentalists as saying that it is an important area for whales.

Source: Maritime Executive

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