Japan will send a new team of experts to Mauritius to work out long-term measures to help the country recover from damage to its environment and fisheries following a major oil spill caused by a Japanese freighter in July, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.
The team, including officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, will leave Japan on Saturday and join disaster relief personnel sent earlier. It will carry out two months of surveys to work out an aid package, the ministry said.
In September, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth that Japan will provide long-term assistance to the Indian Ocean island nation, including steps to enhance safety at sea and support the local fisheries industry.
The ministry said Japan is also preparing to dispatch another investigative team to compile cooperative measures to improve Mauritius’ capacity to prevent and respond to marine accidents.
The Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio, operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and owned by Nagashiki Shipping Co., ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25, spilling more than 1,000 tons of oil into the pristine environment.
Mauritius declared a state of environmental emergency Aug. 7, citing fears about the impact on endangered species such as birds and sea turtles. Fishing off coastal areas impacted by the spill is currently banned.
Japan has so far sent three disaster relief teams to help with oil removal and assess environmental damage.
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