A site visit, for members of the press, was held on Saturday 22 August 2020 to take stock of the progress of works underway for the cleaning-up of areas affected by the oil spill following the grounding of MV Wakashio at Pointe d'Esny. Representatives of media organisations were accompanied by specialists from the United Nations (UN) and the visit, organised by the National Crisis Committee, was monitored by the National Coast Guard.
The delegation visited several places, namely, Mahebourg Waterfront, Bois des Amourettes and Ile aux Aigrettes.
According to the Humanitarian Affairs Officer from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Pierre Gelas, the aim of the site visit is to allow members of the press to see as well as observe at first-hand what type of operations are being carried out by the authorities at the different regions which have been hit by the oil spillage. The visit is important so as to prevent the spread of fake or erroneous information on the international front which can be harmful for the country's reputation, he pointed out.
For his part, the UN Oil Spill Expert, Mr Matthew Sommerville, highlighted that, since the surface of the lagoon has been cleaned up, operations are now focused along the affected shore line. There is no specific date for the completion of the clean-up operations but obviously, Government wants this to be done as soon as possible and in conformity with set standards, he underlined. Moreover, Government is working on a programme to monitor the regeneration of nature and to ensure that this exercise is not delayed, he added.
In addition to the clean-up operations, the National Environmental Laboratory and the Albion Fisheries Research Centre are carrying out daily tests to monitor air and water quality in areas affected by the oil spill which resulted from the grounding of the bulk carrier MV Wakashio.