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Captain and first officer of the Wakashio sentenced

The captain and first officer of the Wakashio bulk carrier which smashed into a coral reef off Mauritius, unleashing the Indian Ocean archipelago’s worst environmental disaster, will be released imminently after their 20-month sentence was commuted yesterday.

The vessel’s captain and first officer were found guilty of “endangering safe navigation”

Their lawyer says good behaviour and time already served in jail means a 20-month sentence will be commuted

The two men, who have been in police custody since August 2020, were sentenced this week, with magistrate Ida Dookhy Rambarrun noting that the court had taken “into consideration the fact that both defendants pleaded guilty and apologised”.

“The captain and his second in command were irresponsible and did not deliver as they should on their navigational duties,” the magistrate said.

During the trial, the captain admitted drinking during an onboard birthday party and said he had given instructions to approach Mauritian waters in order to gain access to a mobile phone network so that crew members could contact their families.

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.
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