India has dispatched over 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material on board an Indian Air Force (IAF) Aircraft to Mauritius to help the island nation deal with the oil spill on its south-east coast, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Sunday.
The MEA said that the Mauritius government had requested assistance in dealing with the environmental crisis after a Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio struck a coral reef off the coast in late July resulting in an oil spill of over 1,000 tonnes into the Indian Ocean. On Saturday, Mauritian authorities said the ship broke apart in two pieces.
#SAGAR Policy at work.
To assist Mauritius in its ongoing #oilspill containment & salvage operations, an IAF aircraft has just landed in Port Louis with 30T of specialized equipment along with a 10-member Technical Response Team from @IndiaCoastGuard pic.twitter.com/muRYOy6mOp
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 16, 2020
A 10-member technical response team, consisting of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel specially trained for dealing with oil spill containment measures, has also been deployed to Mauritius, the MEA said. “The specialized equipment, consisting of Ocean Booms, River Booms, Disc Skimmers, Heli Skimmers, Power packs, Blowers, Salvage barge and Oil absorbent Graphene pads and other accessories, is specifically designed to contain the oil slick, skim oil from water, and assist in clean up and salvage operations,” MEA said.
It also said that India’s assistance was in line with its policy to extend humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its neighbours in the Indian Ocean region, guided by the Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region). The MEA said the urgent assistance reflected the close bonds of friendship between India and Mauritius and India’s abiding commitment to assist the people of Mauritius in need.
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As part of Mission ‘Sagar’, India had recently sent essential medicines, a special consignment of Ayurvedic medicines as well as a medical assistance team to help Mauritius in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, it said.
Last week, after the Mauritius government declared a state of environmental emergency, thousands of volunteers rushed to the shore to create makeshift oil barriers from tunnels of fabric stuffed with sugar cane leaves and even human hair, with empty soda bottles tucked in to keep them afloat.