India sends assistance to Mauritius to help deal with oil spill

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India has sent 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material on board an IAF aircraft to Mauritius to help the country contain an oil spill on its pristine south-east coast.

A 10-member Indian Coast Guard (ICG) team specialising in containing oil spill has also been deployed to Mauritius to extend necessary technical and operational assistance, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Sunday.

A Japanese bulk carrier struck a coral reef off the coast of Mauritius in late July and leaked hundreds of tonnes of oil in the environmentally sensitive region days later.

On Saturday, Mauritian authorities said the ship, MV Wakashio, broke apart. Last week, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency and sought international assistance to deal with the situation.

“In response to a request of the government of Mauritius for assistance in dealing with the environmental crisis due to oil spill on its south-east coast, the government of India has dispatched over 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material on board an IAF aircraft to Mauritius to supplement the country’s ongoing oil spill containment and salvage operations,” the MEA said in a statement.

The MEA said India’s assistance is in line with its policy to extend humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and guided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi”s vision of security and growth for all in the region.

It said the urgent assistance reflects the close bonds of friendship between India and Mauritius and New Delhi”s abiding commitment to assist the people of Mauritius in need.

“The specialized equipment, consisting of ocean booms, river booms, disc skimmers, heli skimmers, power packs, blowers, salvage barge and oil absorbent graphene pads and other accessories, is specifically designed to contain the oil slick, skim oil from water, and assist in clean up and salvage operations,” the MEA said.

India has also sent Mauritius essential medicines and other materials to help it in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. A special consignment of Ayurvedic medicines and a medical team were part of the assistance.

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