Mauritius dodges second oil spill as fuel pumped from stricken ship

first_imgWildlife jewel Fresh cracks appeared in the hull this week near the fuel reservoirs, spurring fears that the Wakashio could soon split up and inflict irreversible damage on the archipelago’s fragile marine ecosystem.The ship struck a reef at Pointe d’Esny, an ecological treasure fringed by idyllic beaches, colorful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife, and protected wetlands.Aerial images showed huge stretches of crystal-clear seas around the marooned cargo ship stained an inky black.Pressure has mounted on the government to explain why it did not act earlier, with calls for the fisheries and environment ministers to resign, and volunteers angrily defying official orders to stay away from the clean-up site.Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend crucially on the sea for food and ecotourism, having fostered a reputation as a conservation success story and a world-class destination for nature lovers.The spill is a double blow for tourist operators who had hoped foreign tourists could soon return.The country has no active cases of coronavirus and had declared a wary victory after a long stretch without any new infections, but its borders remain closed. “It was a race against the clock, and I salute the excellent work to prevent another oil spill,” said Jugnauth, who added that another 100 tons still remained elsewhere aboard the Japanese-owned ship.”The weather was calm and it helped the pumping exercise, it also prevented the breakup of the boat, which is inevitable.”Mauritius declared an unprecedented environmental emergency last week as the Wakashio, which ran aground on July 25, began seeping oil into a protected marine park boasting unspoiled coral reefs, mangrove forests and endangered species.Jugnauth said the “ecological crisis” was beyond the scope of the tiny Indian Ocean nation, and appealed for urgent international help.  France and Japan were among those to answer the call, along with thousands of ordinary Mauritians who volunteered day and night to clean sludge from the picturesque tropical coastline to which their economy is deeply tied.Jugnauth acknowledged there was “still a lot of work to do” assessing and cleaning up the damage, but refused to take responsibility for the disaster.”How did I do wrong?” he said, adding bad weather hindered efforts to pump oil from the ship earlier.”We did everything right from the start. We were told that the risks of an oil spill were very low. The experts convinced us otherwise.”Police have launched an investigation into the accident and have seized the black box, log book and other items of interest from the vessel as part of their inquiries. Mauritius avoided a second catastrophic oil spill Wednesday after salvage crews pumped the remaining fuel from the tanks of a cargo ship that ran aground off its coast, imperiling world-famous wildlife sanctuaries.The stricken vessel threatens to break apart after more than two weeks stranded on a reef, where it leaked more than 1,000 tons of fuel into pristine seas.Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said “all the fuel” had been pumped from reservoirs beneath the MV Wakashio bulk carrier, dodging what experts warned would been a crippling blow to an island nation popular with honeymooners and ecotourists. Topics :last_img read more

Huge protest against French gay marriage plans

first_imgStuff.co.nz 14 Jan 2013Several hundred thousand people have massed at the Eiffel Tower in Paris to protest against President Francois Hollande’s plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption by June. Three columns of protesters, waving pink and blue flags showing a father, mother and two children, converged on the landmark from different meeting points in Paris. Many came after long train and bus rides from the provinces. Hollande has pledged to push through the law with his Socialists’ parliamentary majority but the opponents’ campaign has dented public support and forced deputies to put off a plan to allow lesbian couples access to artificial insemination. Champ de Mars park at the Eiffel Tower was packed, but turnout estimates varied widely. Organisers claimed 800,000 had protested, while police put the number at 340,000, high even in protest-prone France. “Nobody expected this two or three months ago,” said Frigide Barjot, a flamboyant comedian leading the “Demo for All”. At the rally, she read out a letter to Hollande asking him to withdraw the draft bill and hold an extended public debate on the issue. “The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defence of children,” said Daniel Liechti, vice-president of the National Council of French Evangelicals, which urged its members to join the march.http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/8174292/Protest-against-French-gay-marriage-planslast_img read more

Syracuse drops regular-season finale despite outshooting Boston College 16-1 in 2nd half

first_img Published on October 30, 2015 at 10:15 pm Contact Jon: [email protected] | @jmettus Despite a late push and outshooting Boston College 16-1 in the second half, No. 12 Syracuse (10-5-2, 3-4-1 Atlantic Coast) lost to the Eagles (9-6-1, 4-4-0), 2-1, in its final game of the regular season in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.The Orange will get the No. 7 seed in the ACC tournament and host either North Carolina State or Louisville in the first round at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The official seeding will be released following the Pittsburgh at Notre Dame game on Saturday slated for a 2 p.m. start.“We weren’t our best tonight, first half,” head coach Ian McIntyre said. “We were just a little bit off pace and we were punished for a couple of mistakes. … We had a magnificent response we just ran out of time.”Orange starting midfielders Juuso Pasanen and Korab Syla returned to the lineup after sitting out of SU’s win over North Carolina State on Oct. 23 and exiting the previous game early because of injury.Pasanen finished with one shot in 89 minutes of action. Syla did not record any stats in his 74 minutes.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We tried to get them involved and I thought they both did very well,” McIntyre said.In the first half, Syracuse only put up one shot, which didn’t go on goal. Meanwhile, Boston College scored at the 24- and 38-minute marks.Trevor Davock scored first off a through ball, then Simon Enstrom took advantage of a misplayed ball by SU goalie Hendrik Hilpert, scoring on an empty net from 30 yards out.“It was a choppy game,” McIntyre said. “Boston College did a good job to kind of frustrate us. I thought that they were the better team.”The Orange came out firing in the second half, but only five of its 16 shots in the half went on goal. Defender Kamal Miller made it a one-goal game with just over five minutes left, but SU couldn’t net the equalizer.“Unfortunately that first goal, if we score it five minutes earlier I think we get back in the game,” McIntyre said. “… We created a lot of chances, put some very good crosses into the box. Their goalkeeper pulled off a couple good saves and we didn’t hit the target on a couple of them we probably should have.“Hopefully on another day we find a way to get that goal.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more