Magistrate claims captain and second in command were irresponsible, and they did not deliver what they promised.
A Mauritius court sentenced the captain of the freighter, and the first mate, to 20 months in prison. The crash into a coral reef last year caused the worst environmental disaster in the Indian Ocean archipelagos.
Magistrate Ida Dookhy Rambarrun claimed Monday that the court had taken into account the fact both defendants pleaded guilty, and apologized.
The Japanese-owned, Panamanian-flagged MV Wakashio ran amok in July 2020. It spilled toxic fuel into the pristine waters off Mauritius, coating mangroves, and corals.
A Port Louis court convicted the vessel captain for admitting to drinking at an onboard party.
Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, Hitihanillage Subhoda Janendra Tilakaratna, and the first officer Hitihanillage Subhoda Janendra Tilakaratna were convicted of endangering safe navigation.
The magistrate stated Monday that the captain and his second in command were irresponsible. They did not perform as they should with their navigational duties.
The MV Wakashio was travelling from Singapore to Brazil carrying 3,800 tonnes fuel oil and 200 tonnes diesel when it came across the reef off the southeast coast Mauritius.
More than 1,000 tonnes oil seeped into the waters full of marine life through a gash in the vessel’s hull. Before salvage crews were able remove all remaining fuel, more than 1,000 tonnes of oil was lost.
The accident took place near two ecologically important sites: Blue Bay is known for its coral gardens and Pointe DEsny hosts a mangrove rainforest, an ecosystem that is crucial in the fight against global climate change.
In the days following the accident, thousands of volunteers marched along the coast wearing rubber boots, gloves, and scrubbing rocks. They also made makeshift cordons to contain oily tide.
Thousands marched in protest against the government’s response to the disaster over the next months.