Mauritius oil spill: MV Wakashio captain arrested
The captain of the ship that spilled hundreds of tonnes of oil off the coast of Mauritius has been arrested.
Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, a 58-year-old Indian man, was charged with endangering safe navigation, police said. He has not yet commented.
The MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef, Pointe d’Esny, on 25 July while carrying 4,000 tonnes of fuel oil, causing an ecological emergency.
Pointe d’Esny is a sanctuary for rare wildlife.
Mr Nandeshwar made an appearance in the district court in the capital Port Louis to hear the charges.
He will be held in a police cell until he returns to court on 25 August.
Police said 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 being investigated is that the ship navigated close to the shore in order to pick up WiFi signal, the BBC’s Yasine Mohabuth, in Port Louis, reports.
The Japanese-owned MV Wakashio has already leaked about 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil into the uniquely biodiversity-rich marine ecosystem.
The ship split in half over the weekend and the bow of the ship is being towed away from the reef.
But the rear part remains stranded on the reef with about 90 tonnes of the fuel believed to be on board.
Rough seas have made it too risky to remove the remaining oil from the ship, the national crisis committee has said.