A 130-ton oil vessel runs aground off Mauritius | Environment News

Coastguards, floating containment lines deployed as traces of leaks observed around the Lurong Yuan Yu under the Chinese flag.

Mauritius deployed its coast guard and armed forces after a Chinese-flagged trawler carrying 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 hit a reef in July last year with a leak of 1,000 tons of fuel in the country’s worst environmental disaster.

The captain of the Lurong Yuan Yu made 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.

On Monday, Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo said 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 tons of fuel oil and five tons of lubricants, according to the authorities.

The traces of oil previously spotted around the ship were not “heavy oils” but possibly lubricants, he said.

Drone footage showed dark spots in Indian Ocean waters near the boat. Residents told AFP news agency they saw fuel splashing 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 on board the crashed vessel and seized documents.

Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo said on Monday divers found ‘no leaks, no breaches’ in the vessel’s hull [L’Express Maurice/AFP]

On July 25, 2020, the Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio crashed off Mauritius with 4,000 tonnes of fuel on board but did not start to leak for more than 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.

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