(ORDO NEWS) — Mauritius escaped a second catastrophic oil spill after rescue teams deflated leftover fuel from the tanks of a cargo ship endangering world famous wildlife sanctuaries.
“It was a race against the clock and I applaud the excellent job we did in preventing another oil spill. The weather was calm and it helped with the transfer and also prevented the inevitable breakdown of the boat.” Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius.
Fresh cracks appeared in the hull near the fuel tanks this week, raising fears that the bulk carrier could soon split and cause irreversible damage to the archipelago’s fragile marine ecosystem.
Mauritius declared a state of emergency after bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground in a protected marine park on 25 July, and oil leak started to an area with pristine coral reefs, mangrove forests and endangered species.
Jagnaut said the environmental crisis was expanding beyond the tiny country in the Indian Ocean and called for urgent international assistance. France and Japan were among those who responded to the call, and thousands of locals removed silt from the coast around the clock.
Police launched an investigation into the incident and seized a black box, logbook and other items of interest from the vessel from the vessel.
Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend heavily on the sea for food and ecotourism.
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