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Perpetrators of the 2020 Mauritius oil spill to be sentenced

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Perpetrators of the 2020 Mauritius oil spill to be sentenced

Gwendoline Defente EMAE via AP
Photo: Gwendoline Defente/EMAE via AP

A Mauritius court will today sentence the captain and first mate of a Japanese-owned ship for their role in the country’s worst environmental disaster.

In July 2020, the Panamanian-flagged MV Wakashio, en route from Singapore to Brazil, ran aground between Blue Bay and Pointe D’Esny, Mauritius. The vessel spilled more than 1,000 tons of its fuel cargo as a result of the crash, causing severe damage to the Indian Ocean island-nation’s mangroves and coral reefs. The captain, an Indian national, admitted to consuming alcohol shortly before the accident.

Shortly after the spill, thousands of protestors took to the streets of Mauritius’ capital, Port Louis, demanding that the government investigate its cause. Both the captain and the first mate of MV Wakashio plead guilty to charges of criminal negligence.

In the short-term following the sentencing, expect protests to flare to at or near-2020 levels. The perpetrators were charged with offenses carrying among the lightest in criminal penalties under Mauritian law and have already served the maximum possible prison terms awaiting trial while denied bail. In the medium- to long-term, as the country continues to recover from the spill, anticipate calls for legislative reform, particularly stiffened penalties for gross environmental negligence.

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Photo: Wikipedia / CC

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