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Mauritius oil spill: rush to pump oil before shipwreck



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Jean Mary Garrett

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The oil spill has caused an environmental disaster in Mauritius

Authorities hope to finish pumping the remaining oil from the ship that caused a major oil spill off the coast of Mauritius on Wednesday.

The goal is to transfer fuel oil to the ground before the explosion of Japanese owner MV Wakashio.

The ship, believed to have carried 4,000 tonnes of oil, was embraced in a coral reef on July 25th.

Mauritius is home to world-famous coral reefs, and tourism is an essential part of its economy.

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The fuel was transferred ashore by helicopter and to another ship owned by the same Japanese firm, Nagashiki Shipping.

France has sent a military plane with pollution control equipment from its nearby island of Réunion, while Japan has sent a six-member team to assist the French effort.

The Mauritius Coast Guard and several police units are also at this location in the south-east of the island.

What do the authorities say?

Police Chief Khemraj Servansing told the media that cracks in the boat “continue to grow”

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“It’s hard to say when it will break down, but we have a plan for setting up the boom with the French Navy helping and we have made provisions for high sea blooms,” he said.

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Media titleMore than 1,000 tonnes of oil has leaked into waters near Mauritius

It was “very likely” that the pumping operation would be completed on Wednesday, he added. Servansing.

“I can say that a large amount of oil has been pumped and 700 tonnes are still on board,” the police chief said.

MV Wakashio was embraced at Pointe d’Esny, a sanctuary known for its rare wildlife. The area also contains wetlands designated as a site of international importance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

How bad is shedding?

On Friday, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of emergency and called for international help.

Since then volunteers have also been collecting straw from the fields and filling sacks to make barriers against oil.

Others have made their tubes with thongs and hair to add to the effort, and some have cleaned up the island beaches.

Their actions went against a government order urging people to leave the cleanup to local authorities.

Africa Greenpeace has warned that “thousands” of animal species were “at risk of drowning in a sea of ​​pollution, with serious consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food safety and health”.

An ocean researcher and environmental engineer in Mauritius, Vassen Kauppaymuthoo, told the BBC that locals were now “breathing heavy oil vapor”, and there was a “mixture of sadness and anger” about the spill.

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AFP

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Volunteers are trying to limit the damage

It has also led to political accusations in Mauritius, the BBC reports Yasine Mohabuth from the Indian Ocean island.

The opposition is seeking answers from the government over the oil spill, while community activists have called for the resignation of former ministers, including Environment Minister Kavy Ramano.

Akihiko Ono, the executive vice president of the ship’s operator, Mitsui OSK Lines, has “apologized” with apologies for the spill and for “the great trouble we have caused”.

He has vowed that the company will do “everything in their power to resolve the issue”.

Police in Mauritius say they have been given a search warrant, allowing them to board the ship, take items of interest such as the ship’s logbook, in order to assist in an investigation. The captain of the ship will assist the officers in their search.


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