• The Financial District


A Japanese disaster relief team said Friday it has confirmed there has been no damage from oil spilled from a grounded Japanese freighter off Mauritius on corals and mangroves in wetland sites recognized by the Ramsar Convention.

Kyodo News reported that the seven-member team, including five environment experts, has been conducting on-site environmental probes since Aug. 21 at spots including those in two wetlands of international importance -- Blue Bay Marine Park and Pointe D'Esny.

"No entry of oil has been confirmed in mangroves, and no oil coating on their roots has been observed either (in the wetlands)," said Noriaki Sakaguchi, a deputy team leader and an ecosystem conservation expert at the Japan International Cooperation Agency, said in an online briefing.

"(Blue Bay corals) are healthy as they have not been affected by oil pollution or cloudy water," he said.

The second batch of the Japanese relief team visually inspected corals in 17 spots and mangroves in 11 spots near the accident site.

Along with corals, mangroves are considered a crucial part of the ecosystem because they serve as nurturing grounds for young marine creatures, as well as buffer zones for cyclone waves and tsunami, according to the experts.

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