Wakashio officers “could face 60 years prison”

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Mobilisation Nationale Wakashio posted this image of the bulker's bow moments before it disappeared under the surface.

Yesterday, after being moved to a sea area designated by the Mauritius authorities, the forepart of the ill-fated Panamanian-flag bulker Wakashio was scuttled, almost exactly one month after its July 25 grounding that caused widespread pollution.

Today, the captain of the vessel, Indian national Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar and the Chief Officer, Tilak ratna Suboda, a Sri Lankan, were back in district court in Port Louis, Mauritius, for a formal hearing, before being returned to police custody for further questioning.

Local media report they are provisionally charged with unlawful “interference with the operation of a property of a ship likely to endanger its safe navigation” under articles 5(1) (b) (2) et (9) of Mauritius’s Piracy and Maritime Violence Act. Reportedly, if convicted, they could face up to 60 years imprisonment.

Their next appearance in court is set for September 1.

According to shipowner, Japan’s Nagashiki Shipping, “regarding the rear part of the hull, the relevant authorities and a team of experts are continuing to study the removal plan.”

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