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Mauritius arrests captain of oil-spill ship | News

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Mauritius has arrested the captain of a bulk carrier that ran aground off its coast last month, causing a devastating oil spill in one of the world’s most pristine maritime environments.

The Japanese-owned MV Wakashio struck a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on July 25 and began spilling oil on August 6, prompting the government to announce a state of environmental emergency.

The spill spread over a vast area of endangered corals, affecting fish and other marine life in what some scientists have called the country’s worst ecological disaster. Emergency crews managed to remove most of the ship’s remaining oil before it split in two on Saturday.

“We arrested the captain and his second-in-command today. They were taken to court on a provisionary charge. The investigation continues from tomorrow with the interrogation of other crew members,” police spokesman Inspector Shiva Coothen said on Tuesday.

The two men were charged with endangering safe navigation.

Officials have yet to reveal why the ship, which was making its way from Singapore to Brazil, had come so close to the island.

Oil spill off Mauritius coast threatens ecosystem

The Mauritius coastguard had repeatedly tried to reach the ship to warn that its course was dangerous but had received no reply, a maritime official with knowledge of the incident who asked not to be named told Reuters news agency.

“The route set five days before the crash was wrong and the boat navigation system should have signalled that to the crew and it seems the crew ignored it. The boat did also fail to send out an SOS [when it ran aground], and did not respond to attempts by the coastguard to get in touch,” the official said.

The official confirmed that the crew had been questioned about reports they were having a birthday party on board, but said it was not clear yet if the party had been held at the same time that the ship ran aground or earlier in the day.

He also denied media reports that the ship had sailed close to land seeking a Wi-Fi signal, saying that looking for a phone signal would not have required sailing so close to land.

Sinking the boat

On Tuesday, salvage crews began towing the larger of the two pieces of the Wakashio out into the open ocean where it is to be sunk. The part containing the engine room remains wedged on the coral reef.

The decision to sink the boat was taken on Monday in consultation with French experts who have been sent to assist Mauritius.

“Since oil has been largely removed and the amount of the remaining oil is small, the impact of the operation on the environment is expected to be limited,” said an official from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, part of a team that is also helping Mauritius in the wake of the disaster.

Volunteers make oil barriers to absorb leaked oil from the MV Wakashio bulk carrier that had run aground in Mahebourg, Mauritius [Sumeet Mudhoo/L’Express Maurice/AFP]

Japan announced on Monday it was sending a second team of seven experts to help clean up the spill, after sending the first team of six people.

The new team, which will depart on Wednesday, will bring special oil-absorbent materials donated by a Tokyo-based company.

“We want to help local people who are struggling to remove oil,” said Yuki Takenoshita of M-TechX, which developed the material made of polypropylene which can absorb 1,200 litres of oil. 

Scientists say the full impact of the spill is still unfolding but the damage could affect Mauritius and its tourism-dependent economy for decades. 



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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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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