The Chinese-flagged fishing trawler, Lu Rong Yuan Yu 588, which ran aground off the Mauritius northwest coast at Pointe-aux-Sables on 7 March, was towed to the port of Port Louis on 11 March. Earlier that day the remaining fuel on board had been removed. Crew and vessel are not allowed to leave the country pending an investigation.

The Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, reported this at a press conference held at the headquarters of the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) in Port Louis on 11 March.

Tug Sir Edouard pulled the damaged vessel to Quay D, where it will be detained pending the conclusion of the ongoing preliminary investigation into how the incident occurred, said Mr Maudhoo. He added that Capt. Jean Hubert Noël, Principal Nautical Surveyor, is supervising the investigation and has collected information and evidence. Mr Maudhoo stated that the crew members will not be allowed to leave the country until the investigation is concluded.

Also read: Another ship runs aground off Mauritius with risk of oil spill

Oil spill response

The Minister also hailed the efforts of all stakeholders namely the Mauritius Port Authority, the Shipping Division, the National Coast Guard, the Mauritius Police Force, the Helicopter Squadron, the Special Mobile Force, and fishers of Pointe aux Sables, who were said to be critical to the success of the whole mission.

He recalled that the sixteen crew members of the fishing vessel, which carried some 130 tonnes of oil, were safely brought to shore and put in quarantine, as per Covid-19 protocols; floating booms were set up to contain any potential spill; and the fuel was offloaded by the helicopter squadron.

According to Mr Maudhoo, an environmental assessment will be conducted by the relevant authorities to gauge the impact of the incident on the local marine ecosystem.

The video below shows the vessel after it was stranded.

Picture by Government Information Service.