MAURITIUS. Port Louis: The captain of the boat at the center of inquiry, Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, told the inquiry committee that he steered the vessel near the shore to look for an internet connection. The commission of inquiry was set up to find out the causes of the oil spill which caused an environmental catastrophe and left thousands of Indian ocean islanders disgruntled.
“There was no internet on the ship and I agreed to dock in Mauritius so that crew members could communicate with their relatives. This helps to keep the morale of the crew high,” Nandeshwar said in his defense.
The captain was arrested in August over the incident, charged with endangering safe navigation, and the probe into the incident continues.
Some crew members have claimed that they were drunk in a party. According to the reports, the captain had allowed the crew members to consume liquor.
The company in charge of the ship the company Japan P&I Club has come under lots of criticism over the spill. The Mauritius government has now demanded $34m from the firm for damages.
Thousands of locals had worked for days to try and reduce the damage and contain the oil spill and France sent a naval ship, military aircraft, and advisers from the nearby island of Reunion.
The oil spill has been described by environmental experts as a disaster for nature, which will have wide-reaching and long-lasting repercussions.
The company had initially pledged to support local fishermen affected by the spill in Mauritius. The government had also demanded 34 million dollars compensation from the devastations caused.
Apart from environmental hazards which saw aquatic life being destroyed, the oil spill also exerted social and political pressures on the government.
Thousands of people had protested in August 2020, a month after the ‘oil spill’ incident. The protestors were reportedly dissatisfied by the government’s way of handling the disaster.