The captain of the Japanese boat which triggered an oil spill in Mauritius after being stranded at the end of July on a reef was arrested on Tuesday, we learned from a police source.
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“We arrested the captain and his deputy today. They were brought to justice on a provisional charge. The investigation will continue from tomorrow (Wednesday) with the questioning of other members of the crew, ”police spokesman Shiva Coothen told AFP.
The Indian captain, who has been questioned several times by police, and his Sri Lankan deputy, have been indicted and will appear in court again on August 25.
The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25 on a reef at Pointe d’Esny, in the south-east of Mauritius, with 3,800 tonnes of fuel and 200 tonnes of diesel on board.
Between 800 and 1,000 tons of fuel escaped its gutted sides and soiled the coasts, including protected areas home to mangrove forests and endangered species.
Response teams raced against time to pump out the rest of the fuel, as the boat threatened to break at any moment. He finally broke in two on Sunday.
The front two-thirds of the wreckage began to be towed before being sunk to avoid further damage. The remaining part, which contains the engines and about 30 cubic meters of oil, is still stuck on the reef.
The authorities considered that it was “too risky to seek to recover the residual quantity of fuel oil in the engine room”.
The Mauritian government has been accused of negligence, with the population of this tourist island wondering why so little had been done between the time the MV Wakashio ran aground and the appearance of the leak.
Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said no mistake had been made and refused to apologize.
The Japanese owner of the boat, Nagashiki Shipping, said he was “deeply aware of (his) responsibilities” and promised to respond “sincerely” to requests for compensation.