Chinese trawler with 130 tonnes of oil runs aground off Mauritius
A Chinese-flagged fishing vessel with 16 crew members carrying 130 tonnes of oil has run aground off Mauritius, causing a minor spill, a minister said on Monday.
"Nothing to be worried about," Sudheer Maudhoo, whose Blue Economy Ministry takes care of maritime affairs, told Reuters, saying 310 metres of floating booms were controlling the leak.
Drone footage showed dark patches within the Indian Ocean waters after it ran aground on Sunday.
The incident followed July's accident of the MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier that struck a reef off Mauritius and commenced spilling oil, prompting the government to announce a state of environmental emergency.
Maudhoo said the Lu Rong Yuan Yu's captain made distress calls after his ship saw trouble by Pointe Aux Sables.
Authorities brought the crew members to the shore. They're now quarantined in line with COVID-19 protocols.
"We hope to pump out all the fuel on board by tomorrow or subsequent day, then after 4 to 5 days, we'll perform a salvage operation to get rid of the ship," Maudhoo added.
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 nation.
"There are traces of oil around Lurong Yuan Yu. Divers will soon inspect the ship to see if there are any cracks," the minister told reporters.
He earlier said the ship contained 130 tonnes of fuel oil and five tonnes of lubricants.
Soldiers and the coastguard were sent to the coast at Pointe-aux-Sables, where residents have already reported seeing traces of oil along the shoreline.
The disaster was unprecedented for Mauritius, an archipelago of 1.3 million people where many derive their livelihood from tourism and fishing, and tens of thousands marched in protest over the government's handling of the crisis.