Japan ship operator to pay out over spill | Illawarra Mercury

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The Japanese operator of a bulk carrier that struck a coral reef and caused a widespread oil spill off the coast of Mauritius says it will provide 1 billion yen ($A12.95 million) to fund environmental projects and support the local fishing community. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said the Mauritius Natural Environment Recovery Fund will be used for mangrove protection, coral reef recovery, protection of seabirds and rare species, and research by private and governmental groups. The environmental disaster began on July 25 when the ship MV Wakashio strayed off course and struck a coral reef 1.6km offshore. After being pounded by heavy surf for nearly two weeks, the ship's hull cracked and on August 6 it began leaking fuel into a lagoon, polluting a protected wetlands area and a bird and wildlife sanctuary. MOL President Junichiro Ikeda apologised for the damage and said the financial contribution reflects the company's commitment to fulfill its social responsibility. "The accident has caused tremendous environmental damage to Mauritius. We naturally bear social responsibility," Ikeda told reporters. The ship owner, Nagashiki Shipping, is also joining the fund, MOL said. Mauritius has said it is seeking compensation for the damage from Nagashiki. More than 1000 tonnes of oil spilled into the coastal waters. About 3000 tonnes that remained on the ship was pumped into barges before the Wakashio broke in two several days later. Thousands of civilian volunteers worked for days to t....

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