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Mauritius Faces an Environmental Mess on its Pristine Beaches

Officials have barred access to beaches and lagoons on its southeast coast due to an oil spill from a stranded bulk carrier. “Access to Blue Bay Marine Park and the Mahebourg fishing reserve is strictly restricted as from this morning and until further notice,” the Ministry Of Environment said in a statement. The National Coast Guard and Polyeco, an environment services company, are working to contain the leakage from the Panama-flagged MV Wakashio that ran aground two miles off the Indian Ocean Island on July 25. The carrier was en route to Brazil from China and held 3,894 tons of low-sulfur fuel oil, 207 tons of diesel and 90 tons of lubricant oil, the ministry said. Neighbouring Reunion is assisting the country to clean up the spill while other international and regional organizations have been asked to help. Mauritius is famous for its crystal clear beaches, and was a major tourist attraction before the outbreak of coronavirus. It also has a wide variety of fish, and is a major exporter of tuna. Some experts are already calling the spill a disaster, with major risks of pollution.