17 August 2020.
India has sent 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material on board an IAF aircraft to Mauritius to help the country contain an oil spill on its pristine south-east coast. This is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), to deal with a oil spill crisis.
The Story so far:
- In July 25, a bulk carrier vessel, MV Wakashio, ran aground on the reef at Pointe d’Esny which is located on the South eastern part of Mauritius and is close to ecologically sensitive reserves and prominent tourist destinations.
- It is owned by M/s Okiyo Maritime Corp/ Nagashiki Shipping Co Ltd (a Japanese company) and 300 m long vessel, was on its way to way to Brazil .
- Though there was no cargo on board, there was around 4000 metric tons of fuel for its use.
- Earlier all salvage operations to pull out the vessel from the reef failed.
- This was mainly due to rough weather and heavy sea swells .
- The government of Mauritius had to declare Environmental Emergency when oil leakages and breaches in the vessels were noticed.
- Later on Aug 7, IOML(Indian Oil Mauritius Limited) moved its barge ‘Tresta Star’ towards the site. This step was taken to give all possible assistance including debunkering of oil from the vessel.
- This step proved successful in evacuating around 1000 tonnes of oil from the tanks which were intact on Aug 10.
How India Helped?
- India sent the material on C-17 . Globemaster Aircraft to Mauritius.
- This material has been provided by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
- Under the National Oil Spill-Disaster Contingency Plan(NOS-DCP), ICG is the designated national authority for oil spill response in Indian waters.
- India has helped with the equipment specially designed for use in Oil spill containment and salvage operations.
- It includes Ocean Booms, River Booms, Disc Skimmers, Heli Skimmers, Power packs, Inflators, Blowers, Salvage barge and 10000 Oil absorbent pads.
- Since the equipment requires trained manpower to operate, ICG has dispatched a 10-member Technical Response Team. This team is trained which is trained for dealing with oil spill containment measures.
- Also, the IAF has onboard 10,000 high capacity oil absorbent pads. These have been specially procured and supplied by Indian Oil Corporation.
- These pads are manufactured here in India and are specially designed using grapheme (an allotrope of carbon).
- These are extremely useful in salvage operations in and around beaches where oil has spread.
- Launched on 10 May, `Mission Sagar‘ was India’s initiative to deliver Covid-19 related assistance to the countries in the Indian Ocean Littoral states.
- This team assisted local governments in the Indian Ocean Region in the formulation of long term strategy to counter COVID 19 through mutual sharing of experience.
- It provides opportunity to secure transportation of 80% global trade.
- The seabed in the Indian Ocean Region provides 32% of global supply of hydrocarbons.
- The Mission also helps to check Chines influence in Indian Ocean Region.
During the Pandemic:
- 580 tonnes of essential medicines and food supplies were sent to Mauritius under Mission SAGAR
- Some of the other receipent countries of supplies are Male. Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar.
- INS Kesari was deployed for the mission.
- A 14 member Naval Medical Assistance team was deputed for the formulation of strategy to counter the COVID pandemic.