Appearing in court on Tuesday, the Captain of the ill-fated MV Wakshio, which ran aground and split in two causing a major oil spill off Mauritius less than seven months ago, confirmed that he navigated the vessel closer to the shore to look for internet connection for the crew.
The Captain was arrested in August over the incident, charged with endangering safe navigation, and the probe into the incident continues.
There was no internet on the ship and I agreed to dock in Mauritius so that the crew members could communicate with their relatives as it helps keep the morale of the crew high,
…Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar explained to the inquiry commission, according to AfricaNews.
The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground off Mauritius, east Africa, early in the evening of 25 July 2020. The incident attracted significant media attention for several weeks following the occurrence, as fuel oil started leaking from the vessel in the environmentally sensitive region and adverse weather conditions impeded proper response (Find a timeline of events here.)
The Captain also admitted he brought the vessel about 5 nautical miles to shore, while he was typically sailing to 15 nautical miles from shore.
In addition, some crew members told the commission that the captain had given them permission to have a birthday party and most of them got drunk when the accident occurred, local media reports reveal.
The operator and the P&I Club involved in the inicdent have been wdely criticized over the grounding and improper response, which created a state of environmental emergency and significanly affected marine life in the region.
In December 2020, Japanese MOL, the charterer of the vessel, released an internal investigation report on the incident, identifying the crew’s unsafe behavior probable cause of the incident, and issued a series of safety measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.