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India Sends Team of Specialists to Help Mauritius Deal With 'Worst Ecological Disaster' Due to Oil Spill

A drone image shows fishermen on a boat as they volunteer near the area where the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 11, 2020. REUTERS/Reuben Pillay

A drone image shows fishermen on a boat as they volunteer near the area where the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 11, 2020. REUTERS/Reuben Pillay

A Japanese bulk carrier struck a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island nation on July 25, spilling about 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil and triggering a state of “environmental emergency”.

India has sent technical equipment and a team of specialists to Mauritius to help local authorities deal with an environmental crisis after an oil spill from a Japanese ship, a government official said on Sunday.

A Japanese bulk carrier struck a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island nation on July 25, spilling about 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil and triggering a state of “environmental emergency".

The carrier split on Saturday, and the oil spill spread over a vast area of endangered corals, fish and other marine life in what some scientists called the country’s worst ecological disaster.

Scientists say the full impact of the spill is still unfolding, but the damage could affect Mauritius and its tourism-dependent economy for decades. Removing the ship is likely to take months.

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Following a government request for assistance, India dispatched over 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material by aircraft to supplement the country’s salvage operations, the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement said on Sunday.

A 10-member team of Indian coast guard personnel trained in oil spill containment measures has also been deployed to Mauritius to provide technical and operational assistance, it said.