Mauritius has arrested the captain of a Japanese freighter that spilled oil after it ran aground off the Indian Ocean island nation last month, local authorities said Tuesday.
The male captain, an Indian national, was arrested along with a Sri Lankan crew member on suspicion of negligence in operating the vessel. They appeared in court the same day.
Including the captain, the multinational crew is comprised of three Indians, one Sri Lankan and 16 Filipinos, who were recruited to navigate the ship by its owner Nagashiki Shipping Co., an Okayama Prefecture-based company. All evacuated safely and are unharmed.
According to local media reports, several members of the crew said the vessel had navigated closer to the island in order to use Wi-Fi before the grounding occurred. Police are currently investigating the claim.
The Mauritius government said last week that it will seek compensation from the owner of the Japanese freighter over the oil leakage.
Nagashiki Shipping has said it will deal "in good faith" with the issue of compensation.
The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio, operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., was carrying a total of some 3,800 tons of fuel oil when it ran aground on July 25. More than 1,000 tons of oil began to leak from the vessel on Aug. 6 when one of the five fuel tanks cracked.
The freighter was en route to Brazil from China via Singapore when it ran aground near Pointe d'Esny, an area designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.