MOL sets up “blue-economy” fund for Mauritius

MOL, the charterer of the wrecked carrier Wakashio, has said that it planned to support the development of the “blue economy” in Mauritius after the grounding of the Wakashio off Mauritius in July 2020 resulted in significant pollution of an environmentally sensitive part of the Mauritian coast. The vessel broke up and spilled about 1,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the waters of an environmental reserve near the town of Mahebourg.

The vessel’s owner had been criticized both for what was seen as a small amount of compensation paid out since the disaster, and for filing suit to limit damages. MOL, as charterer, is not a party in the case.

MOL has set up the MOL Mauritius International Fund for Natural Environment Recovery and Sustainability, with seed capital of $4.4m. It will offer grants to firms involved in environmental protection in Mauritius.

MOL had already established the MOL Charitable Trust, which was set up in Mauritius in June this year with seed capital of $2.6m to support community-focused measures.

The new fund, administered from Japan, will assist relatively long-term and large-scale projects.

The company said that “MOL hopes to support the development of fisheries, tourism and cultural activities, which are the foundation of the Mauritian economy, as well as recovery and preservation of its natural environment and diverse ecosystems such as mangrove forests and coral reefs, and protection and research on wild and migratory birds including endemic species”.

The grants will focus on activities related to recovery and protection of the environment and ecosystems in Mauritius, including restoration, preservation and research measures related to mangrove forests, coral reefs and wild birds. Activities related to development of communities such as fisheries, tourism, culture and education will also benefit from the fund, which will be operated by the Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank as a trustee.