Environmentalists will be greatly relieved when Mauritius’ Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth revealed on Wednesday that nearly all remaining oil had been removed from a damaged Japanese ship, which leaked about 1,000 tonnes in a threat to tourism already hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
“At the time I’m talking to you, almost all the oil has been removed from the ship,” Jugnauth remarks from his office were shared by Reuters.
All fuel had been removed from tanks, but there was some residue in parts of the ship, his office added.
Tourist operators had fear the spill will further damage businesses already reeling from the epidemic and could cost jobs if pristine beaches are spoiled.
Tourism generated 63 billion rupees ($1.6 billion) for the economy last year. In May, the central bank said that in the past two months alone, the nation had lost 12 billion rupees in foreign exchange due to the fall in tourism.
The MV Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping and operated by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd, struck a reef and went aground off the Indian Ocean island’s southeast coast on July 25. It began leaking oil last Thursday.