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Mauritius oil spill: Wrecked MV Wakashio breaks up

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Media captionAerial footage showed the remains of the MV Wakashio

A Japanese bulk carrier that has leaked hundreds of tonnes of fuel oil off the Mauritius coast has broken apart, authorities in the island nation say.

The MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef on 25 July with 4,000 tonnes of the fuel, causing an ecological emergency.

Most of the fuel had already been pumped out, officials said, but on Saturday the ship’s condition worsened.

Mauritius is home to world-renowned coral reefs, and popular with tourists.

The MV Wakashio ran aground at Pointe d’Esny, a known sanctuary for rare wildlife. The area also contains wetlands designated as a site of international importance by the Ramsar convention on wetlands.

“At around 4.30pm [12:30 GMT], a major detachment of the vessel’s forward section was observed,” the Mauritius National Crisis Committee said in a statement on Saturday.

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Reuters

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Satellite images showed the moment the MV Wakashio began breaking up on Saturday

About 90 tonnes of the fuel were believed to be still on board when the vessel split.

The committee said booms had been reinforced near the vessel to absorb any more oil that leaked out. Coast guard vessels have been positioned in the area.

Mauritius has said it will seek compensation for the leak from “the owner and the insurer”. Japanese firm Nagashiki Shipping has pledged to respond to requests for compensation.

Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said in recent days that more than 3,000 of the 4,000 tonnes of oil from the ship’s fuel reservoirs had been pumped out.

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Media captionMore than 1,000 tonnes of oil has leaked into waters near Mauritius

The removed fuel has been transferred to shore by helicopter and to another ship owned by the same Japanese firm.

How bad is the spillage?

One of the best assessments of the spill has come via Earth observation assets.

The US analytics company Ursa Space Systems looked at the situation using radar data from the Finnish Iceye satellites, which are especially effective at picking out oil on water. It found a 27 sq km spill by 11 August.

BBC World Service environment correspondent Navid Singh Khadka says a spill three times the size of this was averted. Nevertheless a uniquely biodiversity-rich marine ecosystem has been polluted with nearly 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil.

Last week, Mr Jugnauth declared a state of emergency and appealed for international help.

Since then, volunteers have also been collecting straw from fields and filling sacks to make barriers against the oil.

Others have made their own tubes with tights and hair to add to the effort, and some have been cleaning up the island’s beaches.

Their actions went against an order from the government asking people to leave the clean-up to local authorities.

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EcoMode Society

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Communities have rallied together to protect their island

Greenpeace Africa has warned that “thousands” of animal species were “at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’s economy, food security and health”.

An oceanographer and environmental engineer in Mauritius, Vassen Kauppaymuthoo, told the BBC that local residents were now “breathing heavy vapours of oil”, and there was a “mixture of sadness and anger” over the spill.

Police in Mauritius say they have been granted a search warrant, allowing them to board the vessel to take away items of interest such as the ship’s log book in order to help with an investigation. The ship’s captain will assist officers with their search.

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Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies

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Satellite imagery on Wednesday showed booms placed along shorelines (arrows) to protect them from oil



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail

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Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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