"The first measure is to pump all the oil on board," Minister Maudhoo told reporters late Sunday, adding the ship contained no cargo but 130 tonnes of fuel oil and five tonnes of lubricants.

Soldiers and the coastguard were sent to the coast, where floating containment booms were deployed in the event of needing to stop an oil slick from reaching the shore.

On 25 July, the Japanese-owned bulk carrier MV Wakashio crashed off Mauritius with 4,000 tonnes of fuel aboard but did not begin leaking oil for more than a week.

By the time the government issued an urgent appeal for international help the slick had reached the shore, coating mangrove forests, fragile ecosystems and coral reefs.

An army of volunteers scrubbed the coastline but the stricken ship kept leaking. More than 1,000 tonnes of oil eventually spilled into the pristine waters that have long been a major draw for honeymooners, and contain precious mangroves and coral reefs.

The disaster was unprecedented for Mauritius, an archipelago of 1.3 million people where many derive their livelihood from tourism and fishing, and tens of thousands marched in protest over the government's handling of the crisis.

Caption: An aerial view shows Chinese fishing vessel Lurong Yuan Yu that ran aground on reefs of Pointe-aux-Sables in Port Louis, Mauritius, on 7 March, 2021

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