India sends equipment, personnel to Mauritius to contain oil spill

India has sent equipment and personnel to help Mauritius contain an oil spill after a Japanese bulk carrier ran aground on a reef on its south-east coast last month, the ministry of external affairs said on Sunday.

The ministry said more than 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material on board an aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been sent to the island country “to supplement the country’s ongoing oil spill containment and salvage operations.”

“The specialized equipment, consisting of Ocean Booms, River Booms, Disc Skimmers, Heli Skimmers, Power packs, Blowers, Salvage barge and Oil absorbent Graphene pads and other accessories, is specifically designed to contain the oil slick, skim oil from water, and assist in clean up and salvage operations,” MEA said in a statement.

It also said that a 10-member technical response team, consisting of specially-trained Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel to deal with oil spill containment measures, has also been deployed to Mauritius to “extend necessary technical and operational assistance at the site”.

MV Wakashio struck a coral reef on July 25, spilling about 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil and endangering corals, fish and other marine life in what some scientists have called the country’s worst ecological disaster.

Authorities said on Saturday that the Japanese vessel has broken apart. The condition of the MV Wakashio was worsening early on Saturday and it split by the afternoon, the Mauritius National Crisis Committee said.

“India’s assistance is in line with it’s policy to extend humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its neighbours in the Indian Ocean region, guided by the Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region),” according to the statement.

The urgent assistance reflects the close bonds of friendship between India and Mauritius and India’s abiding commitment to assist the people of Mauritius in need, MEA said.

India had recently sent essential medicines, a special consignment of Ayurvedic medicines as well as a medical assistance team as part of SAGAR to help to Mauritius in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

(With agency inputs)

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