Heavy weather following cyclone Batsirai has caused the Mauritian oil tanker, Tresta star, to run aground on the South coast of the French island of La Réunion, on Friday.
The crew of an oil tanker stranded near the coast of the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion after Cyclone Batsirai swept the region were rescued and brought ashore on Friday. In a statement, the French territory's prefecture said "The perilous, operation to rescue" the 11 Indian and Bangladeshi sailors on the Mauritian vessel TrestaStar was completed in "very unfavourable weather conditions". The sailors were onboard the Tresta star when it started to drift on Thursday because of the weather pattern.
If there was no fatality among the 11 sailors of the ship crew, the coastal area might not remain in pristine condition. French minister in charge of overseas territories Sebastien Lecornu said the tanker was travelling empty and dismissed any risk of serious maritime pollution but the doubts remains in many minds. It's the case for Juanito Boyer, a tourist guide who approached the area where the stranded vessel lies : "I came to see for myself, first of all out of curiosity, and secondly to see if there were any traces of residue. They were talking about diesel, I don't know what it is but in any case, it's not very nice to see and it's still a rather greasy material."
"No return to normal"
The island was first placed on red alert on Wednesday but since it was lifted on Friday. However, the lifting of the alert "does not mean a return to normal", said the island's top official Jacques Billant, calling on residents to remain vigilant as several rivers remained at risk of flooding due to heavy rain.
On Friday, travel was still discouraged as emergency services worked to clear roads, and restore electricity, phone networks and water supplies. Access to the island's main coastal road, which connects the capital Saint-Denis to the island's other cities, remains cut off. Billant had reported 12 people injured onshore by the storm, including 10 who had carbon monoxide poisoning, a firefighter who was electrocuted attending a roof fire and another who was injured after a fall from a roof.
After it passed La Reunion island, cyclon0 eBatsirai was set to touch the east coast of Madagascar.
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