Mauritius: Oil from damaged ship cleared

Mauritius: Oil from damaged ship cleared

Japan's government has said it would send a second disaster relief team to Mauritius to help with the oil spill from a Japanese ship that ran aground off the Indian Ocean island last month. The two Indian Ocean countries have close ties.

Around 1,000 tonnes of oil was believed to have leaked into the sea before the ship split in two on the weekend. It also provided oil-blocking booms, oil-absorbing sheets, and other equipment.

Some 70 percent of the current Mauritian population is of Indian descent.

The MV Wakashio, a Japanese-owned and Panama-registered ship that was travelling from China to Brazil ran aground on a reef at Pointe d'Esny in the south-eastern part of Mauritius on July 25.

Officials had been bracing for the development for days, and images taken Saturday indicated it was inevitable, with the two pieces only partly attached. Mauritius declared an environmental emergency, and rescuers rushed to pump out thousands of tons of oil cargo on board before it ended up in the water.

According to a tweet from Indian High Commission in Mauritius, 30 tonnes of specialised equipment and 10-member technical response team from Indian Coast Guard arrived in Mauritius from India on board an Indian Air Force aircraft to assist in salvage, containment and oil spill clean up operations.

This picture supplied by the French Army displays oil leaking from the MV Wakashio, a bulk provider ship that ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius, Tuesday Aug.11, 2020.

The committee said booms were reinforced to absorb more oil leaks.

The Mauritius government is under pressure to explain why immediate action wasn't taken to empty the ship of its fuel.

The Mauritian government is in search of payment from the operator, Nagashiki Shipping.

The enterprise has reported that "residual" quantities of fuel remained on the ship following pumping.

The crew of the ship are being investigated by the authorities to find out what caused the disaster, Mitsui OSK Lines said.

"The front part is being towed very slowly", Donat was quoted as saying, adding that this part will be sunk at least 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) off Mauritius and that the rear section will be left on the breakers for the time being.

An oceanographer and environmental engineer in Mauritius, Vassen Kauppaymuthoo, told the BBC that local residents were now "breathing heavy vapours of oil", and there was a "mixture of sadness and anger" over the spill. These pads can also prove to be highly useful for the local communities in cleaning up the polluted beaches and lagoons.

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