Over 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil leak from Japan freighter off Mauritius

11-Aug-2020 Intellasia | Mainichi | 6:02 AM Print This Post

More than 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil have leaked from a stranded Japanese-owned freighter that ran aground off Mauritius, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd, the operator of the vessel, said Sunday.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Executive vice President Akihiko Ono apologised for the incident at a news conference in Tokyo, after the island nation in the Indian Ocean declared a state of environmental emergency over the fuel leakage on Friday.

“We’re terribly sorry,” Ono said as he vowed to make all-out efforts to resolve the case.

As of Sunday, a massive amount of heavy oil had washed ashore along the coast of Mauritius, sparking concerns about damage to the country’s tourism industry and the impact to endangered animals such as indigenous wild birds and sea turtles.

As local residents strive to remove leaked fuel from the sea, the Mauritius government has sought assistance from France and the United Nations in coping with the disaster.

The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio ran aground off Mauritius at 7:25 p.m. on July 25 local time, according to Nagashiki Shipping Co., the owner of the ship.

Leakage of fuel oil began Thursday morning when a fuel tank suffered a crack, the Okayama Prefecture-based company said.

The vessel, which was en route to the Brazil area from China via Singapore, was carrying a total of 3,800 tonnes of fuel oil when it was grounded near Pointe d’Esny, an area designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which is close to Blue Bay Marine Park, another Ramsar site.

The approximately 300-metre-long tanker, built in 2007, was carrying no cargo at the time. All 20 members of the multinational crew evacuated safely and are unharmed.

Mauritius, with a population of around 1.3 million, is located around 2,000 kilometers east of Mozambique off the southeast coast of Africa.



Category: Japan

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