Regional News • Africa

Ship runs aground off Mauritius with fuel aboard

A Chinese-flagged trawler containing 130 tonnes of oil ran aground off the Indian Ocean archipelago nation Mauritius. It is the second shipwreck in less than a year off Mauritius, after a tanker struck a reef in July and leaked 1,000 tonnes of fuel in the country's worst environmental disaster in history.

Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo said the captain of the Lurong Yuan Yu, a trawler flying the Chinese flag, issued distress calls late Sunday afternoon. By the time the government issued an urgent appeal for international help the slick had reached the shore, coating mangrove forests, fragile ecosystems and coral reefs. The disaster was unprecedented for Mauritius, an archipelago of 1.3 million people where many derive their livelihood from tourism and fishing, and tens of thousands marched in protest over the government's handling of the crisis.

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