Less than a year has passed since the largest environmental disaster in the history of Mauritius and an oil spill is threatening the island again.
A Chinese trawler ran aground off the coast of Mauritius.
There are 130 tons of heating oil and five tons of lubricant on board.
Last July, a Japanese freighter caused the largest environmental disaster in the country’s history.
A Chinese trawler with 130 tons of heating oil on board ran aground off the coast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. According to the Minister of Fisheries, Sudheer Maudhoo, the captain of the Lurong Yuan Yu gave SOS signals on Sunday evening. The authorities of the island paradise mobilized the coast guard and soldiers to prevent an oil spill. Maudhoo announced an inspection of the ship to find possible leaks.
The residents of Mauritius have been alarmed by reports of such accidents since the Japanese freighter Wakashio, with a thousand tons of fuel on board, hit a reef in the southeast of the island in July. It was the largest environmental disaster in the country’s history. More than 50,000 people took part in a demonstration in the capital Port Louis and criticized Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth’s handling of the disaster.
Oil is pumped out
The Lurong Yuan Yu ran aground at Pointe-aux-Sables in the northwest of the main island, not far from Port Louis. First, all the oil must be pumped out, said Maudhoo. According to him, there are also five tons of lubricant on board. The security forces used oil barriers to prevent an oil film from reaching the coast.
After the Wakashio disaster, around a thousand tons of heating oil leaked into the turquoise sea. Mangrove forests, coral reefs and other ecosystems were damaged.
Maudhoo told journalists on Monday that “traces of oil” had also been discovered in the water around the Lurong Yuan Yu. Coastal residents said oil spills had already been seen on the shore. The minister said an investigation had been opened. Police officers went on board the ship to confiscate documents. A large part of the 1.3 million inhabitants of Mauritius live from tourism and fishing.
(AFP / chk)