The Drilldown: Shipwrecked oil vessel to cause lasting damage to Mauritius

The Lead

The last of the oil from a Japanese ship run aground off the island of Mauritius is close to being pumped up, but a 1,000-ton spill has done lasting damage to the island’s coastline, as well as its wildlife and coral reefs.

While the vessel looks as if it could break apart because of cracks in its infrastructure, increasing damage to the surrounding area is unlikely because its 3,000-ton hull has been emptied.

“Today we can confirm that there is just a small amount of oil left on the ship. We are not threatened with an even worse disaster,” said Jean Hugue Gardenne, the communications manager for the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

Gardenne however acknowledged that there was substantial damage done by the spill and said “the damage to the coral reefs may be irreversible.”

“We will fully co-operate with the authorities of Mauritius and Japan to work to resolve the situation as soon as possible and will do our best to prevent the spread of oil and protect the environment,” reads a statement by the owner of Nagashiki Shipping, who owns the shipwrecked vessel.

The Associated Press had that story.


U.S. ethanol producers are benefiting from a tax-free import quota in Brazil which will expire on Aug. 31 unless the Brazilian government renews it. Brazil’s President has been asked by the Trump administration to extend the quota and to eliminate any tariffs on imports that exceed it. Trump has said his administration will retaliate against Brazil if it goes ahead with tariffs. Reuters has more details.

The Trump administration has other fuel problems on its hands: the U.S. seized four tankers transporting Iranian fuel to Venezuela yesterday in an attempt to crack down on the countries it has significant sanctions against. Military force was not used in the seizure, but owners of the vessels were pressured by U.S. officials until they surrendered their cargo, which now belongs to the U.S, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press.

On Friday morning at 8:51 a.m., West Texas Intermediate had fallen by 0.45 per cent or US$0.19 and was trading at US$42.05. Brent Crude dropped by 0.44 per cent or US$0.18 and was going for US$44.78.

In Canada

Gina Rinehart, a well-known Australian leader in the mining industry, has plans for a new coal mine in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Rinehart wants to output 4.5 million tonnes of steelmaking coal from the Grassy Mountain mine, which would be operated by Hancock Prospecting Pty unit Riversdale Resources. The project needs approval at the federal and provincial levels to go ahead, and environmental advocates are worried about its impact on wildlife and nearby water sources. Public hearings over it begin in October, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has used the Oil and Gas Conservation Act to lay eight charges against Land Petroleum International Inc. and its president, Bill Fung, for delaying regulator inspections back in August 2018. The AER said the charges concern inspections of a facility near Ponoka in central Alberta. The Canadian Press reported that story.

Findings from Statistics Canada’s Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, June 2020 show total sales in the sector fell by 22.8 per cent, from $162.4 billion in the first quarter of 2020 to $125.3 billion in the second quarter. In terms of volume, the country’s manufacturing sales fell by 20.5 per cent in the second quarter, which can be attributed to lower sales of transportation equipment, which plummeted by 50.6 per cent and petroleum and coal product which fell by 28.5 per cent.

Due to a drop in manufacturing sales in the second quarter, Canada’s petroleum and coal industry lost $383 million, primary metal lost $260 million and fabricated metal product $463 million. In June, coal and petroleum saw an increase in sales by 31.5 per cent to $3.3 billion, but the sale of petroleum and coal was still down by 46.9 per cent compared to June 2019. The report can be found here.

Canadian Crude Index had fallen by 0.74 per cent or US$0.22 and was trading at US$29.29 and Western Canadian Select had dropped by 1.31 per cent or US$0.43 and was going for US$32.34 this morning at 8:58 a.m.


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