France sends experts to examine ship stranded off Mauritius

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Members of the Japanese Disaster Relief Team work for the oil spill disaster caused by the grounded vessel MV Wakashio, owned by a Japanese company but flying the Panamanian flag, at the Blue Bay Marine Park Center in Blue Bay, the August 16, 2020. A vessel that leaked more than 1,000 tons of oil in the crystal clear waters off Mauritius has split in two. The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the south-eastern coast of Mauritius on July 25 and began to ooze oil more than a week later, threatening a protected marine park housing mangrove forests and endangered species. (Fabien Dubessay / AFP)

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(AFP) – France sends more experts Mauritius Monday to help decide the fate of a stranded ship leaking oil in crystal clear waters off the coast of the Indian Ocean island.France had already sent military planes, ships and equipment to help contain the oil spill, which is also threatening the French island of Reunion in the southwest of Mauritius.

The three additional experts will be tasked with helping the Mauritian government determine what to do with the wreck, which has split in two, DOM-TOM Minister Sébastien Lecornu told Franceinfo on Monday.

France is in favor of an “environmental approach and the protection of biodiversity, and in particular of the coast of Reunion,” he declared.

The possibilities include sinking part of the ship in the open sea, which “is clearly not our preferred solution”, or towing the wreck elsewhere and destroying it, which would take “more time”, he said. declared the minister.

No oil deposit has yet reached Réunion, he added.

The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25 and began to ooze oil more than a week later, threatening a protected marine park with mangrove forests and endangered species.

Officials said over the weekend the ship broke in two.

Mauritius declared an environmental emergency and rescue teams raced against time to pump the remaining 3,000 tonnes of oil from the crashed vessel.

After visiting Mauritius, Lecornu returned to La Réunion on Sunday night and said he thought the clean-up would involve “at least 10 months of work”.

© Agence France-Presse



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