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OACPS SG calls on key international partners to assist Mauritius to forestall unprecedented environmental and economic devastation

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STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ORGANISATION OF AFRICAN, CARIBBEAN AND PACIFIC STATES, H.E. MR. GEORGES REBELO PINTO CHIKOTI, ON THE OIL SPILL OFF MAURITIUS

Brussels, 10 August 2020/OACPS: The Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, has expressed the solidarity of the OACPS with the Government and people of the Republic of Mauritius on the unfolding situation with respect to the ecological and economic disaster for the island nation, after the bulk carrier, MV Wakashio, ran aground off the island on 25 July 2020.

More than 1,000 tonnes of fuel have already leaked into the sea off the south-east coast. This has prompted an ecological crisis as many species around the island are threatened with pollution. The degradation of the island’s natural ecosystems, which are a haven for tourism, has dire economic ramifications for the tourism-dependent country. The travel and tourism industry of Mauritius has already been negatively impacted by downturns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister of Mauritius, H.E. Pravind Jugnauth, on Friday, 7 August 2020, declared a state of environmental emergency.

The imminent threat of over twice the amount of fuel leaking into the sea is a matter of grave international and local concern. The Secretary-General applauds the actions of all who have volunteered their time and resources, and have literally, put themselves on the line, to salvage the ship and prevent a much greater environmental emergency. He further reconfirms the OACPS’ willingness to assist the Government and people of Mauritius in whatever way it can, and calls on its key international partners to provide assistance, and support the island to recover from the spill and forestall an even greater crisis.

Photograph: EPA


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