Dolphin Death Mystery Stokes Anger in Mauritius After Oil Spill
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The unexplained deaths of dolphins in Mauritius are fanning anger over the government’s handling of an oil spill that’s the nation’s worst ecological disaster.
In less than a week, 46 melon-headed whales have been found dead on the nation’s southeast coast where the Nagashiki Shipping Co.’s Wakashio leaked fuel, according to the government. Tests so far haven’t linked the deaths to the spillage.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Port Louis, at the weekend, claiming the deaths were linked to the spill and blaming the government for failing to prevent the leakage.
“The reasons for the deaths are unknown,” Jasvin Sok Appadu, spokesman for the Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping Ministry, said by phone from Port Louis. “Preliminary reports following autopsies of the first set of dead mammals do not show any presence of fuel oil in their lungs and digestive systems.”
Mauritius was left almost helpless after the vessel spilled about 1,000 tons of fuel into its pristine waters that communities and the government rely on for fishing and tourism. The leakage started more than a week after the ship ran aground on July 25 after salvage operations were delayed.
Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said that the government was unable to act immediately because it lacked the resources.
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