Mauritius tourist operators fear business damage following oil spill from Japanese ship

Published on : Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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Tourist operators in Mauritius are apprehensive that an oil spill from a Japanese ship will harm their businesses further that are already suffering from the corona virus epidemic, and jobs could be lost if their pristine beaches get destroyed.

Tourism furnished $1.6 billion for the Mauritius economy last year. In May, the central bank of Mauritius said that in the past two months alone, 12 billion rupees were lost in foreign exchange due to decline in tourism.

Willow River-Tonkin, running kite-surfing business, said that local guides would be among the hardest hit.

“It is really going to affect the communities down there, especially for the fisherman, the local guys that live there, you know that’s how they make money from tourists,” he said.

“Taking them out to go diving to go snorkelling, to go wake boarding, to go see dolphins and all that sort of thing you know and all of that is going to affect it, if we don’t get it under control very soon,” River-Tonkin said further.

The MV Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping and operated by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd., hit a reef and got stranded off the Indian Ocean Island’s southeast coast on July 25. It began leaking oil last week.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of emergency last Friday.

Mauritius somehow got rid of a second catastrophic oil spill Wednesday after salvage crews pumped the remaining fuel from the tanks of a cargo ship that got stranded off its coast, posing danger to world-famous wildlife sanctuaries.

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