Mauritius braces to halt new oil spill as tanker breaks up

first_imgTopics : Salvage crews raced against time Monday to prevent a second disastrous oil spill off the picture-perfect coastline of Mauritius, with a damaged tanker carrying nearly 2,000 tons of fuel at risk of splitting apart.The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25 with 4,000 tons of fuel and began seeping oil last week, staining coral reefs, mangrove forests and tranquil lagoons in an unprecedented environmental catastrophe for the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.More than 1,000 tons has already oozed from the ship, its Japanese operator says, causing untold ecological damage to protected marine parks and fishing grounds that form the backbone of Mauritius’ economy. Creaking sounds “We are in an advanced fracturing process. The bulk carrier does not have much time ahead of it,” said one scientist working on the emergency effort, speaking on condition of anonymity.Divers have reported fresh cracks in the hull, while creaking sounds from the vessel could be heard from the southeast shore, where a major clean-up operation is underway to remove treacly sludge coating miles of Mauritius’ previously unspoiled coastline.Japan on Monday dispatched a six-member team, including members of its coastguard, to assist. France has sent more than 20 tonnes of technical equipment — including 1.3 kilometers of oil containment booms, pumping equipment and protective gear — along with technical advisers from nearby Reunion, a French Indian Ocean island.A spokesman at Mitsui OSK Lines, which operates the Wakashio, owned by another Japanese company, Nagashiki Shipping, told AFP it would send a team of experts as soon as Tuesday if they tested negative for coronavirus. “Nagashiki Shipping deeply apologize to the people of Mauritius and will do their utmost to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of the pollution,” the Wakashio’s owner said in a statement Monday. Fuel was slowly airlifted from the ship Monday by helicopter to the shore, but efforts to pump more from the hold had been thwarted by rough seas and strong winds.The weather, which had fanned the oil slick further up the coast, had improved enough for a barge to approach the ship and safely pump out 500 tons on Monday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said.That left nearly 2,000 tons of oil on the ship, he said at a press conference late Monday.Jugnauth had earlier warned that cracks in the hull were worsening, and there was a very real chance the boat could split. Volunteers fight oily tide The bulker struck a reef at Pointe d’Esny, an ecological jewel fringed by idyllic beaches, colorful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife, and protected wetlands.Aerial images show the enormity of the disaster, with huge stretches of crystal-clear seas around the marooned cargo ship stained a deep inky black.Thousands of volunteers, many smeared head-to-toe in black sludge, have turned out along the coast since Friday, stringing together miles of improvised floating barriers made of straw in a desperate attempt to hold back the oily tide.”My friends and I came here today to lend a hand because of the degradation of our environment. The entire marine ecology has been affected by the heavy oil spilled from the ship. We are very affected by this problem,” said Eldridge Larhubarbe, a student.Police are expected to take statements from the captain and crew of the Wakashio after launching an investigation. Detectives boarded the ship on Sunday and seized the log book and black box.Pressure is mounting on the government to explain why more was not done in the two weeks since the vessel ran aground.Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend crucially on the sea for food and ecotourism, having fostered a reputation as a conservation success story and a world-class destination for nature lovers.The spill is a double blow for tourist operators who had hoped foreign tourists could soon return.The country has no active cases of coronavirus and had declared a wary victory after a long stretch without any new infections, but its borders remain closed.last_img read more

Roebuck leads most important lap at Off Road

first_imgLast week, Roebuck had the lead most of the way until a tire issue sidelined him. A change in his approach helped the Genoa driver garner three wins on consecutive nights, the third being Satur­day’s in Norfolk. [email protected] By Randy Pospishil NORFOLK, Neb. (July 18) – James Roebuck, despite being the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod divi­sion leader in laps led at Off Road Speedway this season, won his first local feature this sea­son and led every lap of the 20-lap event in the process. Jim Johnson was promoted to the top spot when the apparent IMCA Sunoco Late Model winner was disqualified in post-race tech. Austin Brauner of Platte Center won his second feature of the season at Off Road in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car division after taking the lead from Hans Houfek midway through the 18-lap race. “We’ve been struggling a little bit this year. We cut down a tire for the last couple laps last week, so that took us out for that night,” Roebuck said. “It seems like we’re pretty quick at the beginning, but we just need to finish the races. We’ve stumbled on a few issues the past few weeks. Tires were number one we were burning up our tires too quickly.”  Tristan Grape won an IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature race for the first time at Off Road Speed­way, taking full advantage of a front row starting position and establishing a large lead over the field while a group of four cars competed for second place behind him. “We had a win in Albion last night, and we won at Columbus on Thursday,” he said. “So we’ve got it dialed in now; I feel pretty confident in it.”last_img read more