France offers help as Mauritius declares emergency following oil spill from stranded ship

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PORT LOUIS, Aug. 8 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday pledged to send teams and equipment to help Mauritius cope with an oil spill that environmentalists fear as a major ecological disaster.The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25 on a reef off the south-eastern coast of the Indian Ocean island.

Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius, declared a state of environmental emergency and pleaded for international aid on Friday.

“The sinking of the #Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius,” Jugnauth said in a tweet.

Macron responded by saying that France was deploying teams and equipment from Réunion.

“When biodiversity is in danger, it is urgent to act. France is there. Alongside the Mauritian people. You can count on our dear support, ”Macron said in a tweet.

Ships are leaking diesel and oil into the lagoons, threatening the survival of thousands of species that “risk drowning in a sea of ​​pollution”, according to Greenpeace.

“The current oil spill on the reef near Pointe d’Esny on the southeast coast of the island of Mauritius is possibly one of the most dire ecological crises ever seen in this small island country,” the environmental group said. in a press release.

Satellite images released on Friday showed a thick slick of oil forming around the area where the ship ran aground.

Mauritius, famous for its pristine beaches, is popular with tourists who contributed 63 billion Mauritian rupees ($ 1.59 billion) to the economy last year.

$ 1 = 39.5300 Mauritian rupees Written by Omar Mohammed; Edited by Mike Harrison

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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