• Worst of oil spill to Mauritian ecosystem avoided after fuel pumped off ship

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius has announced that almost all of the 4,000 tonnes of fuel oil on board the MV Wakashio oil tanker, owned by Nagashiki Shipping, has been pumped off the ship, averting the worst of what could have been a terrible environmental disaster. Helicopters transported the fuel to another ship owned by Nagashiki Shipping and to a storage facility on land on Mauritius, racing against time before a feared break-up on the MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a reef at Pointe d’Esny, a place of sanctuary for rare wildlife, on 25 July. The ship’s final breaking apart appears to be a question of when rather than if, with cracks already widening, and the fuel still on the ship at that point will pollute the surrounding environment. Damage to wildlife and the environment has already been done, with~27 square kilometres around the ship being covered in oil by 11 August, and there may be knock-on effects to the Mauritian economy, particularly in relation to tourism. The operator of the ship, Mitsui OSK Lines, has sworn to do “everything in their power to resolve the issue”, apologising “for the great trouble we have caused”.