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Curtin Mauritius helps in emergency shipwreck response

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Curtin Mauritius has been proud to provide assistance with the emergency response to the shipwreck MV Wakashio crisis, which has seen around 1000 tonnes of fuel oil leak into the Indian Ocean.

Curtin University had the opportunity to mobilise its industry partners over the weekend (primarily, RPS Energy, Australia) who provided the first modelling of wind, tide and currents to predict the trajectory of the spill. RPS Energy continues to work closely with the Mauritius Oceanography Institute team to assist in forecasting.

Curtin Mauritius was initially approached by Curtin Alumnus, Dr Zaheer Allam, and then further by the Mauritian Government, who were seeking support with oil mapping and forecasting.

Curtin Mauritius Pro-Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Lina Pelliccione said this contact led to the University not only reaching out to its industry contacts, but also partnering with Australian agencies to help provide information vital to containing and managing the oil spill.

“Curtin University has joined with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the CSIRO partnering with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), to provide a coordinated approach to assist with the response and restoration planning,” said Professor Pelliccione.

This ecological disaster has struck at the very heart of our community, and Curtin Mauritius is proud to be able to help. We join dozens of international experts, government authorities, industry bodies and thousands of local volunteers in doing our part to protect Mauritius’ pristine beaches and waters and rich marine wildlife.”

Curtin University’s Director of the Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Professor Christine Erbe, is leading Curtin’s response from Australia, putting together a team of experts in water chemistry, toxicology, coral reefs, commercial fisheries, biodiversity, and remote monitoring.

The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on a reef off Mauritius on July 25, spilling hundreds of tonnes of fuel oil into the Indian Ocean, close to sensitive marine sites including Blue Bay Marine Park, Ile aux Aigrettes and the Pointe D’Esny National Ramsar site.

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