Japan to send team to Mauritius to help assess damage from oil spill

A section of the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, ran aground on a reef, is pictured at the Riviere des Creoles, August 13, 2020.
A section of the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, ran aground on a reef, is pictured at the Riviere des Creoles, August 13, 2020. REUTERS - STRINGER

Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said on Saturday Tokyo planned to send a team of officials from the ministry and other specialists to Mauritius to assess the damage from an oil spill.

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A Japanese bulk carrier struck a coral reef off Mauritius on July 25, spilling about 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil and triggering a state of "environmental emergency" in what some scientists call the country's worst ecological disaster.

Removing the ship will be a delicate operation and is likely to take months. France, which once ruled Mauritius as a colony, has said it will assist with the cleanup.

Koizumi also told reporters on Saturday he saw the oil spill as a grave crisis that could lead to a loss of biodiversity.

The ship, MV Wakashio, is owned by Japan's Nagashiki Shipping and chartered by Mitsui OSK Lines.

(REUTERS)

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