TOKYO, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. on Friday pledged 1 billion yen (9.41 million U.S. dollars) to Mauritius to help finance essential environment projects needed following a massive oil spill caused by a grounded tanker.
According to local media, the funds, to be allocate over a few years and including 800 million yen (7.53 million U.S. dollars) earmarked specifically for cleaning the environment, will cover efforts to recover damaged coral reefs in and around the island nation and protect seabirds and mangroves.
"We will continuously engage in efforts to restore the natural environment and support local communities in Mauritius with authorities in the island state and Japan," Mitsui O.S.K. President and CEO Junichiro Ikeda told a press conference on the matter.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has been found to be not legally responsible for the massive oil spill that began on Aug. 6, despite the untold damage to the region's delicate ecosystem, although Ikeda conceded the firm has a social responsibility to help lessen the environmental impact on the island state.
"The accident has brought a huge impact on Mauritius, and we have a social responsibility as the operator of the ship," Ikeda said, adding that the shipping firm had to "take necessary measures to support Mauritius."
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has also said it will set up a liaison office in Mauritius next month to coordinate its rescue activities on the island country.
The tanker was carrying 3,800 tons of fuel oil when it ran aground on July 25. More than 1,000 tons of oil subsequently leaked from the stricken vessel, the operator and local media reported. Enditem