Two dead, two others missing after tug responding to Wakashio oil spill sinks off Mauritius

Photo: International Maritime Organisation

Tragedy befell the salvage and oil spill response efforts on the grounded and broken-up bulk carrier Wakashio when two people were killed following a collision off northeastern Mauritius on Monday, August 31.

The deceased individuals, both of whom were employees of the Mauritius Ports Authority, were among the eight people who were on the tug Sir Gaëtan Duval, which was towing a barge loaded with oil recovered from the Wakashio wreck site off Point Desny in the country’s southeast.

At around 19:40 local time, the barge reportedly collided with the tug’s stern. The tug then suffered a hull breach which then led to water ingress.

The tug’s occupants were able to board two lifeboats as their vessel slipped beneath the waves. However, both lifeboats capsized before rescuers could arrive at the scene.

Four of Sir Gaëtan Duval‘s occupants were safely rescued later in the evening while the two port authority employees were found dead in the water.

Authorities are continuing to comb the area for any trace of two more individuals who went missing following the sinking.

The incident occurred in heavy squall conditions in Poudre d’Or, a marine protected area some 50 kilometres north of where Wakashio had run aground on July 25.

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