The year 2020 has been a very difficult one for most people in general! The unprecedented losses to lives, livelihoods and morale due to the COVID-19 Novel Corona Virus Pandemic is something that we haven't even gotten to terms with. There have been numerous natural and man-engineered disasters, other than the Corona Virus too. Recently, a disastrous oil spill along the South East coast of Mauritius, came to light! A Japanese bulk carrier ship ran aground against a coral reef off the coast of Mauritius, in late July. This ship has now been spilling hundreds of tonnes of oil into the ocean, in the environmentally sensitive region, for the past couple of days! On Saturday, Mauritian authorities revealed that the ship - MV Wakashio broke apart. 

The Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency last week and sought international assistance to deal with with this difficult situation. Responding to this request, the Indian government has sent 30 tonnes of technical equipment and a team of 10 members to Mauritius, to help deal with this environmental crisis. The Ministry of External Affaires (MEA) released a statement telling, "In response to a request of the government of Mauritius for assistance in dealing with the environmental crisis due to oil spill on its South-East coast, the government of India has dispatched over 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material on board an IAF aircraft to Mauritius to supplement the country's ongoing oil spill containment and salvage operations!"

The statement went on to reveal that the assistance shipment contains specialised equipment including ocean booms, river booms, disc skimmers, heli skimmers, power packs, blowers, salvage barge and oil absorbent graphene pads and other accessories. India has also sent Mauritius essential medicines and other materials to help it deal with the COVID pandemic. The 10-member team sent to Mauritius contains a Technical Response Team of Indian Coast Guard members. Scientists analysing this oil spill are still determining the damage it has caused but state that the impact could affect Mauritius and its tourism-driven economy for decades. Rough weather conditions are making it difficult to remove the remaining oil from the ship. The remainder of the ship after it broke apart, is being gently towed towards high seas by two tugs. This oil spill is considered to be the country's worst ecological disaster ever!