Image credit: Vel Moonien

Chinese Fishing Vessel Refloated in Mauritius

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3436
March 11, 2021

The Chinese fishing vessel which ran aground over the weekend on Mauritius’ western reefs has been successfully refloated, authorities said Thursday.

The FV Lurong Yuan Yu ran aground on Sunday off Pointe-aux-Sables during poor weather. The crew were safely evacuated by helicopter and are currently quarantining for 14 days under Mauritius’ Covid-19 health protocols.

Authorities said today the vessel has now been towed to the island nation’s capital city of Port Louis without incident after it was refloated.

The government of Mauritius has launched an investigation into the grounding and has issued an order to detain the vessel. The crew of the Chinese registered trawler will also remain in Mauritius to assist with the ongoing investigation.

“Mauritius’ coastal waters are some of our most important natural resources and I am pleased to confirm that the Chinese vessel Lurong Yuan Yu has been successfully refloated and is now being inspected by my team in Port Louis,” said Sudheer Maudhoo, Minister for the Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping. “I am particularly grateful to the National Coastguard and local fishing community as well as our professional salvage and marine environment teams for their response.”

After the grounding, responders deployed around 300 meters of oil boom as a precautionary measure following reports of oil in the water. Upon inspection by divers, it was confirmed that the spill was not the result of any structural damage to the vessel. Mauritian authorities on Monday began the process to remove some of the 130 tonnes of fuel and 5 tonnes of lubricants on board.

“I can confirm that there was a minor spill of fuel from the vessel on Sunday which is contained and cleaned,” added Maudhoo. “Following an inspection by our divers, we were able to confirm that the fuel was not as a result of any structural damage to the vessel. As soon as it was safe to do so we removed some of the fuel and lubricants which allowed us to refloat the vessel without any further incident. We are currently assessing any damage to the reef and a police investigation is ongoing. The vessel and crew will remain in Mauritius pending our investigation.”

The incident involving the Lurong Yuan Yu comes about seven months after the Wakashio ran aground and broke up on the reefs off Mauritius’ Pointe d’esny, located on the opposite side of the island from Port Louis. An estimated 1,000 tonnes of bunker fuel was spilled as a result, creating the nation’s worst environmental disaster as the oil seeped into the island’s lagoons.

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