Wakashio captain plead guilty to endangering safe navigation

The captain and first officer of the Wakashio newcatlemax grounded on a coral reef off Mauritius last year in the worst environmental disaster in the island nation's recent history have pleaded guilty to endangering safe navigation.

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The captain, Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, and the first officer, Subodha Tilakaratna, entered their pleas on Monday in a hearing at the Intermediate Court in the capital, Port Louis. Nandeshwar admitted to drinking during a party on the ship when it ran aground in July 2020.

The charges — for conduct “likely to endanger the safe navigation of the ship or to cause interference or annoyance to the other persons on board” — are among the lightest criminal ones under Mauritian law. The offences carry a fine of $1,140, or a maximum prison sentence of two years.