Grounded Chinese fishing vessel refloated and detained in Mauritius

Chinese fishing vessel Lu Rong Yuan Yu 588 (IMO 9708655) has been refloated and detained, local officials said on Thursday March 11th. The vessel had run  aground and spilled oil off Mauritius on Sunday March 7th.

The long liner grounded on the reefs off Pointe-aux-Sables, close to Port Louis harbour on the north-western coast of Mauritius.

Tropical Storm Iman was believed to have been a contributing factor in the grounding.

A minor oil spill was contained, and the vessel’s crew was evacuated by helicopter without reported injuries.

Mauritian Minister for the Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Sudheer Maudhoo, said, “Mauritius’ coastal waters are some of our most important natural resources, and I am pleased to confirm that the Chinese vessel Lu Rong Yuan Yu has been successfully refloated and is now being inspected by my team in Port Louis.”

Salvage efforts were led the Mauritian government and coast guard with support from the local fishing community as well as a specialist environmental response team from Polyeco.

Some 300 metres of oil booms were deployed as a precautionary measure. Once divers confirmed the spill was not from structural damage to the vessel, authorities on Monday began lightering some of the trawler’s 130 tonnes of fuel and 5 tonnes of lubricants, then removed the vessel on Thursday.

“I can confirm that there was a minor spill of fuel from the vessel on Sunday which is contained and cleaned,” Maudhoo said. “As soon as it was safe to do so we removed some of the fuel and lubricants which allowed us to refloat the vessel without any further incident.”

The refloated trawler was towed to Port Louis where the vessel is being detained as Mauritius investigates the incident. The crew is currently quarantining for 14 days under Mauritius’s Covid-19 protocols. They will remain in the country to assist with the ongoing investigation.

2013-built, China-flagged, 357 gt Lu Rong Yuan Yu 588 is owned by Rongcheng Goujiangjia Ocean of Shangdong, China.