Japan Ship Operator Offers $9M Aid Over Mauritius Oil Spill

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  • Japan ship operator offers to pay $9 million as compensation for the oil spill in Mauritius.
  • This money will help in funding the environmental reconstruction process and also support the local fishing community.
  • The company apologised for the damage and provided financial aid in an attempt to fulfil its social responsibility.
  • Several conjectures are spreading around about the probable cause for the accident, but the real cause is yet to be determined.

The Japanese operator of a bulk carrier that struck a coral reef and caused a widespread oil spill off the coast of Mauritius said Friday it will provide 1 billion yen ($9 million) to fund environmental projects and support the local fishing community, says an article published by AP News.

The company’s commitment to social responsibility

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said the Mauritius Natural Environment Recovery Fund will be used for mangrove protection, coral reef recovery, protection of seabirds and rare species, and research by private and governmental groups.

MOL President Junichiro Ikeda apologized for the damage and said the financial contribution reflects the company’s commitment to fulfill its social responsibility.

“The accident has caused tremendous environmental damage to Mauritius. We naturally bear social responsibility,” Ikeda told reporters.

What may have caused the spill?

Thousands of civilian volunteers worked for days to try to minimize the damage from the oil spill, while environmental workers ferried baby tortoises and rare plants to shore and plucked trapped seabirds out of the goo.

Residents and environmentalists have demanded an investigation into why the ship strayed so far off course. Its captain and first officer have been arrested and charged with endangering safe navigation.

Earlier this week, the maritime authority of Panama, where the ship is registered, issued a statement saying an early investigation suggested the accident was caused by human error, including a mishandling of a nautical chart and navigation system and lack of supervision and safety monitoring.

Huge damage to the environment and tourism sector

Mauritius depends heavily on tourism, and the spill has been a severe blow on top of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has limited international travel.

Tens of thousands of people recently protested in Mauritius over the government’s slow response to the oil spill and the discovery of dozens of dead dolphins. Another protest is planned Saturday.

It’s not yet clear what killed the dolphins. The government said no oil was found in two necropsies so far and called the deaths a “sad coincidence.” Some experts fear water soluble chemicals in the fuel are to blame.

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Source: AP News

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