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Arrests made in Wakashio case as salvors prepare to scuttle part of the ship

The captain and first officer of the Nagashiki Shipping newcastlemax that ran aground and subsquently split in two off the coast of Mauritius spilling more than 1,000 tons of oil have been arrested.

Authorities said the pair have been charged with “endangering safe navigation”. They are now being held in custody pending a bail hearing next week on August 25. Other crew members have been interviewed today.

The Wakashio was meant to stay 16 km from the shore but was less than 2 km from the coast when it grounded on a reef near UNESCO protected sites on the evening of July 25. Local authorities had been trying in vain to contact the ship ahead of the accident to warn it was on the wrong course.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the front end of the split-up ship, with its hatches open, is to be sunk in deeper waters. It is being towed to its dump site now to the east of the island, an area some local environmental groups have said is a well-known nursing ground for whales.

The part of the ship containing the engine room remains wedged on the coral reef. At parliament yesterday a minister said the authorities planned to remove the remaining 30 tonnes of fuel oil “before the ship is dismantled”.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. I suspect that in the Nagashiki Shipping offices no one knew this Captain until his photograph appeared in the press. I don’t think they care too much about what happens to him.

    1. Guaranteed. He will fry for this. I have no sympathy for him.He allowed his ship pass 2km off rather than 16km. That is a huge deviation. And it was all to do with getting better 4G reception, l suspect to able to talk to family during the birthday party. This is recklessness in the extreme. He will have to hire his own lawyer, and will be on Mauritius for a very long time. The captain, Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, was arraigned in a district court in the country’s capital, Port Louis, on the charge of endangering the safe navigation of a vessel, an offense under Mauritian maritime laws.
      Mr. Nandeshwar, an Indian national, was arrested alongside the chief officer of the ship, Tilak Ratna Suboda, a Sri Lankan. The two were taken into police custody and will appear again in court on Aug. 25, Ilshad Munsoor, Mr. Nandeshwar’s lawyer, said in a phone interview.

  2. Being charged with “endangering safe navigation” means they were not charged for the pollution. This is a very positive signal in my humble opinion, and looks like authorities are using the brain.

  3. Open letter to the Master of MV Wakashio,
    Dear Captain Nandeshwar,
    You ran aground at about 1530 GMT on the 27/7/20 two hours after low water on a quarter moon cycle.I assume that you immediately carried out a thorough survey of your ship,Hull,Machinery,Rudder,Propellor and carried out soundings all round.Reporting same to your owners and local authorities.Had you then paid out your two anchors astern and insisted on having a tug to hold your stern into the prevailing weather conditions,it might have prevented the ship from yawing broadside onto the reef when on the next full moon of the 5/8/20 a tide level of plus half a meter was in force.Assuming that the ship was still sound….who knows,she might have refloated.

    1. You should send the same letter to Nippon Kaiji Kyokai. They were alerted when the ship was aground but did nothing for the ship. The role of the classification society should be reviewed in all this investigation.

      1. Translated from French……
        “Three crew members of the Wakashio were interviewed by Central CID yesterday. They confirmed the captain’s presence with them to celebrate a birthday as the bulk carrier headed for the Pointe-d’Esny reefs. “He was not in the cabin,” said the three crew members. However, they were unable to give the time when Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar (58) was with them. While in his first statement, the fifty-something had mentioned a technical problem with his communication device. Not to mention that Deux-Frères’s two National Coast Guard (NCG) officers said in their version that they tried to contact Wakashio since 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, but only got a response at around 8:15 p.m.
        According to these three crew members, they do not know if the captain left his mate in the cabin during his absence. However, they were not able to confirm to CCID any information that Wakashio approached our shores to capture the Internet. While the bulk carrier is already equipped with a satellite system for all communication with the outside.

        However, their colleagues did make this statement to the Mauritius Shipping officers who also began an investigation at their level. The other crew members will be heard shortly at the Central Barracks after their stay in quarantine, which is expected to end on Thursday. Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar will subsequently be confronted with depositions from members of his crew. The three crewmembers interviewed yesterday also documented the bulk carrier’s route and confirmed that they had left China for Singapore and were due to go to Brazil. They said they didn’t know anything about the “shipping route” taken by their captain, having no expertise in this area.“

        (I suggest here that the use of the word “cabin” should be interpreted as the ‘’bridge”. That is the only way the statement makes any sense, but l defer to those who know better)

        “Meanwhile, members of NCG des Salines were at CCID premises yesterday where they confirmed the veracity of the Diary Books from the NCG OPS Room seized on Tuesday. They have not yet been confronted with the information on it ±as of July 25. While the two officers of the Deux-Frères NCG have confirmed that they tried to contact Wakashio on VHF Channel 16, a frequency used by sailors for distress calls. But they got no response. The two officers have not been worried so far, investigators asking them to remain at the disposal of the CCID for further information.“

      2. My concern is that nothing seems to have been done by the crew during the first crucial 20 hours of the grounding.

    2. I think it is obvious that nobody on board knew they were going aground at full speed. They were preoccupied elsewhere. All those measures l expect to be taken by a Master who knows his ship is going aground.

  4. Open letter to all the “Masters” who are commenting on Splash247 regarding Wakashio,

    Dear Masters,

    Your input, however valuable to specific arguments does not add value to the case nor to each other. Please understand that you are not intimately involved in the case and facts are changing on a daily basis depending on who is doing the reporting, there may be some falsehoods that some of you took to be the truth and together with your own biases, based your “arguments” on that.

    It is not nice to see the seafaring community (or rather shore-based seafarers) to be at each others’ throat for a case that is; I’m sorry to say, none of your business. Hindsight and bystander’s point of view is always easier than being involved in the situation, it is a fallacy that almost everybody falls into.

    I’ve seen people putting blames on nationalities, company, country, class societies, individuals, etc for the unfortunate incident of Wakashio; granted that definitely much more could have been done to avoid and mitigate the disaster but instead of debating on Splash247, why not put those arguments and knowledge gleaned (if you are open to differing opinions) into your work? Why not focus on what is important currently in your job scope and work on that? It is definitely much better than arguing with strange people on the internet, no?

    We can all debate about International regulations but it is pretty clear on responsibilities by all; actions taken however, is a different story.

    Lastly, please understand that individuals, not entire nationalities have flaws, it does not represent the nationality itself. Let us agree to disagree and keep to the facts of the case, do not let your own personal biases color the debate; this rings true especially for individuals with long experience.

    1. Dear Lex. Sir
      While appreciating You valuable input here , one can not shake the impression ,that You have jumped here into SPLASH247 editores shoes, who have all the necessary tools , professional skills and wisdom , not to mention obligation as to decide on the application of CENSORSHIP in the comments section.

      But You Sir seem to make a pretense , that You occupy a higher moral ground , then all other interlocutors and/or participants lecturing them to SHUT UP AND MIND THEIR OWN BUSSINES.

      Yet You Sir also make sssumptons , that they are masters while ignoring the fact , that some of them may be not , or have beens are simply are armchair experts using aliases and nicknames Who cares??? You and myself do not know and can not ignore the fact , they may have some valuable insider knowledge too .

      It is rather obvious , that most of their opinions are based on daily news from various outlets , which as You wisely have observed change every hour. BBC among others , has revealed lately the names and nationalities of individuals most concerned and nobody is accussing this source of national bias and/or prejudice.

      As to Your argument on intimacy of involvement and lack of it , the investigators who i hope will not leave uncovered stones in this highly controversial case , are also not intimately involved and form their opinions/reports basis their findings in situ or basis input of more or less reliable witnesses, whose memory may fail or may be influenced or manipulated and who as we can see may have propblem in understanding what is the CABIN and what is a BRIDGE.

      Last but not least be so kind Sir and name me one mine , that produces rare gems or precious bulion without huge amounts of DETRITUS .

      Ending let my quote Sir
      why not put those arguments and knowledge gleaned (if you are open to differing opinions) into your work? Why not focus on what is important currently in your job scope and work on that? It is definitely much better than arguing with strange people on the internet, no?

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