Mauritius: Grounded Chinese Fishing Vessel Removed From Reef

The Chinese-flagged fishing trawler, Lu Rong Yuan Yu 588, which ran aground off Mauritius northwest coast at Pointe-aux-Sables on 7 March 2021, was towed to the port of Port Louis, following the completion of the removal of fuel this morning.

The Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, made this announcement at a press conference held at the headquarters of the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) in Port Louis this afternoon.

Tug Sir Edouard pulled the damaged vessel to Quay D, where it will be detained pending the conclusion of the ongoing preliminary investigation into how the incident occurred, said Mr Maudhoo. He added that Capt. Jean Hubert Noël, Principal Nautical Surveyor, is supervising the investigation and has collected information and evidence. Mr Maudhoo stated that the crew members will not be allowed to leave the country until the investigation is concluded.

The Minister also hailed the efforts of all stakeholders namely the MPA, the Shipping Division, the National Coast Guard, the Mauritius Police Force, the Helicopter Squadron, the Special Mobile Force, and fishers of Pointe aux Sables, who were critical to the success of the whole mission. He thus recalled that the 16-crew members of the fishing vessel, which carried some 130 tonnes of oil, were safely brought to shore and put in quarantine, as per COVID-19 protocols; floating booms were set up to contain any potential spill; and the fuel was offloaded by the helicopter squadron.

According to Mr Maudhoo, an environmental assessment will be conducted by the relevant authorities to gauge the impact of the incident on the local marine ecosystem.

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