Ship runs aground off Mauritius with fuel on board
Mauritius deployed its coast guard and armed forces on Monday after a Chinese-flagged trawler containing 130 tonnes of oil ran aground off the Indian Ocean archipelago.
This is the second shipwreck in less than a year off Mauritius, after an oil tanker struck a reef in July and spilled 1,000 tonnes of fuel during the country’s worst environmental disaster.
The captain of the Lurong Yuan Yu issued distress calls on Sunday afternoon and launched flares after being stranded off Pointe-aux-Sables, northwest of the main island not far from the capital Port Louis.
Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo said on Monday that divers had found “no leaks, no breaches” in the vessel’s hull and that efforts would be made to safely remove fuel from the hold.
“The pumping operation will start tomorrow and will last four to five days. The authorities will also try to refloat the fishing boat,” he said.
The trawler is carrying 130 tonnes of fuel oil and 5 tonnes of lubricants, according to the authorities.
The traces of oil previously spotted around the ship were not “heavy oils” but probably lubricants, he said. Local residents also told AFP they saw fuel lurking on the shore.
Floating containment lines were deployed as a precaution while coast guards and soldiers were mobilized.
Maudhoo said an investigation had been opened into the cause of the crash and that police were aboard the distressed vessel and seized documents.
On July 25, the Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio crashed off Mauritius with 4,000 tonnes of fuel on board but did not start to leak for over a week.
By the time the government issued an urgent appeal for international aid, the water table had reached the shore, covering mangroves, corals and other fragile ecosystems.
An army of volunteers scoured the coastline but the Wakashio continued to flee. Over 1,000 tonnes of oil eventually spilled into crystal-clear waters.
The disaster was unprecedented for Mauritius, an archipelago of 1.3 million people where many depend on tourism and fishing for their livelihoods, and tens of thousands marched to protest the government’s handling of the crisis.
A ship wrecked behind an oil spill sunk off Mauritius
© 2021 AFP
Quote: A ship runs aground off Mauritius with fuel on board (2021, March 8) retrieved on May 5, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-ship-aground-mauritius-fuel-aboard .html
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