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Mauritius: Coral reefs threatened by sunken oil vessel

The shipwreck in Mauritius   -  
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AFP PHOTO / Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies


Disaster in paradise.

Mangroves and coral reefs around Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, are under threat.

More than one thousand tons of fuel have leaked into the Mahebourg Lagoon after a Japanese ship ran aground off the island in late July.

The ship's presence in the water has damaged precious coral reefs and could weaken the mangroves' eco system in the long term.

00:25 SOT (Japanese) Noriaki Sakaguchi, vice relief team leader:

"We did not confirm the death of coral reefs due to the oil, and also we did not find any oil adhering to the bottom of the ocean. However, we confirmed that the colour of the water near the cracked vessel was dull and we believe this is because the vessel that is swayed by the waves is cracking coral reefs."

Clean-up efforts have been conducted mainly by NGOs and locals, who complain about the authorities' lack of swift reaction.

Environmental groups have warned that the damage to coral reefs could be irreversible.

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