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Mauritius: Almost all oil removed from damaged Japanese ship

August 13, 2020

Mauritius said almost all oil from a leaking ship off its coast has now been removed. The country will also seek compensation from the owners of the Japanese ship for causing ecological damage.

Volunteers take part in the clean up operation in Mahebourg, Mauritius
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Beekash Roopun-L'express Maurice

Nearly all the oil from a damaged Japanese ship that caused a spill off the coast of Mauritius has now been removed, the country's Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said on Wednesday.

The prime minister's office also said that everything in the ship's fuel tanks had been removed but there was still residue in parts of the ship.

Jugnauth said Mauritius will seek compensation from the ship's owner, Nagashiki Shipping, for the environmental damage it has caused.

Read more: Oil spill disasters: Ways to limit environmental damage

MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier, has been stranded on a coral reef off the nation's coast for over two weeks now.

The vessel ran aground on July 25 and has since leaked an estimated 1,000 tonnes of oil into coral reefs, mangrove forests and protected wetlands.

Salvage teams have managed to avert further ecological disaster as the ship is at risk of breaking apart any moment.

Jugnauth's government is under pressure to explain why it did not take immediate action to empty the ship.

The spill was declared a national disaster and thousands of Mauritians have been working for days by making improvised booms from fabric, stuffed with straw and sugarcane leaves, in attempts to contain the spill.

"It was a race against the clock, and I salute the excellent work to prevent another oil spill," said Jugnauth.

dvv/aw (AP, AFP, Reuters)