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As a result of the oil spill that took place late last month, the crown of the Mauritian coastline is now clad with lifeless fish. The captain, Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, and another crew member have been arrested in relation to this case. The oil blot remains to stain not only the sea, but also the future of Mauritius entirely.

On the 25th of July, a ship carrying 4,000 tonnes of oil ran aground with a coral reef- Pointe d'Esny. 6th August saw the beginning of the oil spill that left the people of Mauritius deeply distraught.

An estimate of 1,000 tonnes of oil is said to have leaked from the ship. And, attempts to salvage the oil have only yielded a successful amount of 500 tonnes; 2,500 tonnes are still in the ship, which is a mammoth of a volume.

Though this may have been a result of human error, it is one that could have been avoided. According to the Mauritius coast guard, the route set five days before the crash was wrong and the crew had ignored a signal from the boat navigation system. The boat also failed to send out an SOS, and did not respond to attempts by the coastguard to get in touch.

The Police are currently investigating a theory regarding the ship’s detour to pick up a Wi-Fi signal. However, the real reason for the detour is yet to be established.

Inspector Siva Coothen has confirmed that the Captain and the Vice-Captain have been arrested and their bail has been rejected; they will continue to remain in detention.

The Captain, Mr. Nandeshwar, made an appearance in the district court of capital Port Louis to hear the charges. He will be held in a police cell until he returns to court on 25th August.

This is a matter of grave concern since these pristine waters house a wide variety of life forms and the oil spill has clouded this blooming habitat. Fishermen and activists have even sighted dead eels and starfish in the suspended oil.

As said by Sunil Dowarkasing, an environmental consultant and former member of parliament, this is no longer a threat to the environment, but is a full-blown ecological disaster that has affected one of the most environmentally important parts of Mauritius.

Fingers are being pointed in different directions regarding who is to be held accountable for this untoward incident: The ship crew for not following the correct route- or the authorities for not paying immediate heed to the distressed ship? While this question remains vaguely answered, a common point of negligence can be highlighted on both sides, the consequences of which have scarred the country of Mauritius for years to come.

Reporter- Sukruthi Sanampudi

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