Photo courtesy Naginlal Modi

Tanker Grounds On Reunion Island During Tropical Cyclone Batsirai

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February 3, 2022

By Vel Moonien in Mauritius –

The Tresta Star, a tanker from the island of Mauritius, has run aground off the eastern coast of Reunion Island, a French Department in the Indian Ocean neighboring Mauritius.

Due to Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, the vessel had set course south of the island, but suffered engine trouble and drifted towards Reunion Island. It is currently aground off Saint-Philippe, at the Tremblet, which is at the foot of the Piton de La Fournaise’s volcano. Eleven crew members are on board, comprised of seven Indians and four Bangladeshis.

Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, a powerful Category 4 cyclone with winds gusting up 130 mph, passed to the north of Reunion Island and Mauritius on Thursday.

AIS track courtesy

The French Minister for Overseas Territories, Sebastien Lecornu, who visited Mauritius when the MV Wakashio ran aground, wrote on Twitter earlier that there is a strong risk that the TrestaStar will suffer the same fate. “The Mauritian ship #TrestaStar is in difficulty and risks running aground in the next few hours off Reunion. I am carefully following the situation with the @Prefet974 . Our efforts are currently focused on rescuing the crew.,” he wrote in his post.

 “An attempt to tow the vessel to avoid it running aground around the Tremblet, in Saint-Philippe will be undertaken. The towing and salvage operations of the ship have begun,” he added.

These effort will be conducted by the Regional Surveillance and Rescue Operational Center of Reunion Island and the French Navy. However, the operations won’t be that easy due to a heavy weather caused by Batsirai.  

Lecornu added that the tanker is empty. “At this stage, there is no risk of serious marine oil pollution,” he added.

Port-Louis says it its monitoring the situation too. Le Quotidien de La Réunion, the number one paper on the island, reports that the Tresta Star, which is 74 meters long and 16 meters wide, has already run aground. The grounding is also confirmed by satellite images and AIS. 

The smell of diesel oil has been reported in the area, according to a local resident.

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