Zambia News

Boat with tonnes of oil runs aground in Mauritius

A Chinese-flagged fishing boat ran aground on a coral reef in Mauritius, about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the capital, Port Louis.

The vessel, LURONGYUANYU 588, got stuck in Pointe aux Sables a few nautical miles from a public beach.

It has 130 tonnes of diesel and five tonnes of dressing oil on board but no fish, according to the Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo.

The boat was meant to be bunkering (the process of transferring fuel to and from a ship) and taking provisions in Port Louis.

“The boat is not taking on water and there is no oil leak at the moment,” the minister said.

“A contingency plan in case of an oil spill in the port of Port Louis has been deployed.”

The boat’s 16 crew members were rescued on Sunday evening. They included 14 Chinese nationals, one Indonesian sailor and one Filipino.

The Mauritius National Coast Guard said there was a distress call from the fishing boat. The stormy sea made the rescue operation difficult and a police helicopter was called for backup.

The rescued sailors have been transferred to the police headquarters and will be placed under quarantine in adherence to Covid-19 health measures.

The incident comes eight months after Japanese bulk carrier, MV Wakashio, leaked hundreds of tonnes of fuel oil off the Mauritius coast, after it also ran aground a coral reef.

Mauritius is home to world-renowned coral reefs, and popular with tourists.

-BBC

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