• Kyodo

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Japan will dispatch a third relief team to Mauritius on Wednesday to help the island nation's response to an oil leak from a Japanese freighter that ran aground in July.

The six-member team will help conduct detailed investigations of mangroves, coral reefs, wildlife and seawater quality to assess the impact of the oil leak, the Environment Ministry said.

The team includes Toyohiko Miyagi, an emeritus professor at Tohoku Gakuin University, Shuichi Fujiwara, technical counselor at environment conservation consultancy firm Idea Consultants Inc., and officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the ministry said.

"The Environment Ministry will give full support in responding to a situation that has led to a crisis for biodiversity," it said in a statement.

The first relief team, consisting of officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Japan Coast Guard and JICA, was dispatched from Aug. 10 to Aug. 23 to engage in oil removal activities. The second team, sent Aug. 19, is currently engaging in environmental assistance, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping Co., was carrying about 3,800 tons of fuel oil when it ran aground on July 25.

Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd., the operator of the carrier, said earlier that more than 1,000 tons of oil have leaked from the vessel.

Mauritius declared a state of environmental emergency on Aug. 7, citing fears about the impact on endangered animals such as indigenous wild birds and sea turtles.

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