A trawler carrying 130 tonnes of fuel oil ran aground off the coast of Mauritius on 7 March. It is the second time in about seven months that the island faces a shipping accident that threatens its shores with serious pollution. The Chinese-flagged ship ran aground on a reef close to the coast and near the capital Port-Louis.
The captain of the Lurong Yuan Yu sounded the alarm late on Sunday and the authorities launched an operation to first pump out the oil. There is also probably 5000 kilos of lubricating oil on board the vessel, but there is said to be no cargo in the hold.
Floating barriers have been placed on the sea around the trawler to stop oil leaking from the sinking vessel. The operation so far seems to have been successful.
— CNA (@ChannelNewsAsia) March 8, 2021
The bulk carrier MV Wakashio that ran aground off the coast of the island at the end of July had much more fuel oil on board, some of which leaked out and threatened not only tourist beaches, but also a marine nature reserve.
This accident with a Japanese-flagged cargo ship led to massive anger on the island. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in August to demonstrate against what they saw as the negligent way in which the government of Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth had handled the shipping accident and the pollution. It was one of the largest demonstrations ever held on the island, which lies almost 2000 kilometres off the south-east coast of Africa.
Picture: Oil sheen on water (by Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection).