Some corals have lived for centuries at the fringes of Mauritius. Now smothered for days in heavy fuel oil spilled from a wrecked Japanese tanker nearby, parts of those reefs may be in trouble.The full impact of the toxic spill is still unfolding, scientists say. As the Indian Ocean island’s residents scramble to mop up the oil slicks and clumps, they are seeing dead eels and fish floating in the water, as fuel-soaked seabirds limp onto shore.Satellite images also show the 1,000 tons of spilled oil spreading northward along the coastline from the spill site in the turquoise waters of Blue Bay Marine Park. The spill brings “a massive poisonous shock to the system,” said Adam Moolna, an environmental scientist from Mauritius who lectures at Keele University in Britain. “This oil will have cascading effects across the webs of life.”Still uncontainedThe spill came from the Japanese-owned MV Wakashio, which rammed into a reef in the marine park on July 25. It is still unclear why the ship was sailing so closely to the coast. About a week later, oil began gushing from the cracked vessel.However, the flow had been stopped, authorities say, after they pumped the remaining oil from the ship.On Thursday, the ship’s owner Nagashiki Shipping said it would face up to its liability and assess compensation for the disaster.Already, about 15 km of coastline have been affected by the spill, said Mauritius Marine Conservation Society President Jacqueline Sauzier.”We don’t have the equipment or the expertise to remove the oil, and time is of the essence to limit the damage,” she told Reuters.Local residents are wading unprotected into the toxic waters, while using human hair as well as husks from sugar cane factories to quickly soak up as much of the spill as they can.For both people and wildlife, the spill will have a “resonating and resounding impact for the next 10 to 20 years,” said environmental toxicologist Craig Downs, who assesses oil spills but has not studied the spill in Mauritius.Spiraling impactCoral reefs and fish are likely to suffer first. That’s especially rough for Mauritius, where tourism and fishing are mainstays of the economy.Corals that survive could have weakened resistance to marine heat waves, which are hitting the area due to climate change and have already caused some coral bleaching, experts say.”If things continue to go the way they are the future prospects for coral reefs look very, very bleak indeed,” said Alex Rogers, a visiting professor at Oxford University and science director of REV Ocean, a not-for-profit company.Conservationists are also anxious about oil washing into mangrove forests, where roots serve as nurseries for fish.Oil also could sink into sediments around mangroves, where it could smother mollusks, crabs and fish larvae, said Callum Roberts, a professor of marine conservation at the University of Exeter in Britain.”It’s very hard to remove once it’s sunk into the sediment,” Roberts said. “Trees can become sick and die.”Birds nesting in the mangroves, or migrating via nearby mudflats, are also vulnerable. Ingesting oil can make it hard for birds to fight disease or even to fly, said environmental toxicologist Christopher Goodchild at Oklahoma State University.Research has shown that “just a small amount of oil being transferred to a bird’s egg — as small as a droplet of blood — can actually cause a change in the bird embryo’s physiology,” he said.Beds of seagrass, which like mangroves store vast quantities of climate-warming carbon dioxide, play a vital role in protecting coasts from waves.On land, some scientists warn that washed up oil deposits could harden and lead to lasting change.”In the long term, we could see an asphalt-like coast as the oil dissipates and degrades, as the oil puddles,” said Ralph Portier, an environmental scientist at Louisiana State University who studied the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”It’s a real tragedy,” Portier said.Topics : The damage, scientists say, could impact Mauritius and its tourism-dependent economy for decades.”This oil spill occurred in one of, if not the most, sensitive areas in Mauritius,” oceanographer and environmental engineer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo told Reuters by telephone from the island, where he was surveying the disaster. “We are talking of decades to recover from this damage, and some of it may never recover.”The wildlife at risk include the seagrasses blanketing sand in the shallow waters, clownfish darting around coral reefs, mangrove trees corralling the coastline with their tangled root systems, and the critically endangered Pink Pigeon, endemic to the island.Giant tortoises slow-walk through a nature reserve on the nearby islet, Ile-aux-Aigrettes, where there is also a scientific research station. Altogether, Blue Bay Marine park counts 38 types of coral and 78 species of fish.
Press Association Striker Shola Ameobi is to leave Newcastle after 14 years at St James’ Park. “I have been at Newcastle United all my career and I have enjoyed every moment and always worn the famous shirt with pride. I am now looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career. “I would like to place on record a big thank you to everyone at Newcastle United. I wish the club great success in the future and I’m sure with the team and management they have, Newcastle United will go from strength to strength. “Finally, a big thank you to the supporters who have always been fantastic. “I hope to come back to Newcastle United one day in some capacity to help repay some of the faith and loyalty that everybody connected to the club has shown me during my time here.” Ameobi, whose younger brother Sammy remains on the books, made 397 senior appearances, 178 of them as a substitute, and scored 79 goals. He was not always a favourite with the club’s fans, but was appreciated by successive managers, none more so than current incumbent Alan Pardew. Pardew said: “Such loyalty and commitment in the modern game is rare and Shola was not just a great player on the pitch, but a key figure off it too. “He is a leader of men, a great role model for our younger players and I wish him well for the remainder of his career.” Ameobi is one nine men leaving the club along with loan pair Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong, midfielders Dan Gosling and Conor Newton, who have joined Bournemouth and Rotherham respectively, and youngsters Michael Richardson, Steven Logan, Brandon Miele and Jonathan Mitchell. The 32-year-old is out of contract and after discussions with the club, is to move on, although he has signalled his intention to return one day. Nigeria international Ameobi, who was handed a senior debut by former manager Sir Bobby Robson as a teenager, said: “Following discussions with Newcastle United, both parties felt it was the right time for us to part company.
Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram A mistake by goalkeeper David de Gea gifted Chelsea an equaliser as Manchester United’s hopes of playing in next season’s Champions League were dented at Old Trafford yesterday.With United leading through Juan Mata’s goal against his former club, De Gea spilled Antonio Rudiger’s 30-yard attempt for Marcos Alonso to level shortly before the interval.It was a costly error by the Spaniard, whose form has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, although De Gea did come to his side’s rescue deep in stoppage time to deny Gonzalo Higuain a dramatic winner. Up until Chelsea’s equaliser, United had been in control yet they remain sixth in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to play, after a third successive league game without a win.In a competitive game, both teams suffered injuries.After Rudiger was forced off in the 64th minute, United defender Eric Bailly, who was making his first league start since 3 February, was helped off six minutes later.With two games of the season left – and United’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League now out of their own hands – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing a dilemma regarding his goalkeeper.The United boss had to defend De Gea before this game because of the Spaniard’s shaky form.He was culpable for at least one of Manchester City’s two goals in United’s midweek derby defeat at Old Trafford, having been at fault for Lionel Messi’s second in the 3-0 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League on April 16.“He’s for me been the best player United have had for the last six or seven years,” said Solskjaer ahead of Chelsea’s visit. “He has been absolutely outstanding – going through tough patches is part of a footballer’s career and David will be fine.”But De Gea was anything but fine as Rudiger let fly from 30 yards with Chelsea’s first shot on target two minutes before the interval.It looked a routine save for a player of De Gea’s ability, but the ball spilled from his grasp and Alonso reacted quickly to tuck home his first Premier League goal since 18 August.His save to deny Higuain in the dying moments, with the Chelsea forward clean through, saved United from defeat but De Gea’s inconsistent form remains a worry.United had Sergio Romero on the bench against Chelsea. The Argentine has not made a Premier League appearance since 13 May 2018 when he kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win against Watford.It remains to be seen whether he will be called into action before the end of a disappointing season in two weeks time.With Tottenham losing at home to West Ham on Saturday and Arsenal losing heavily at Leicester earlier on Sunday, this result means none of the teams placed between third and sixth won over the weekend.Five points separate Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United with 180 minutes of the Premier League season remaining.For United, they will hope the teams above them keep dropping points as they look to avoid missing out on a top-four spot for the third time in four seasons.
Abdul Majeed Waris has described his first international goal as a ‘great feeling’ after starring in Ghana’s 4-0 win over Sudan in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.The Black Stars striker, who scored in the 79th minute to make it 3-0 and bring up his first international goal, expressed his delight at the result and his own personal performance.“It [first goal for country] is a great feeling and the victory is good success for the nation,” Waris said after the game at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday.The win helped the Black Stars close the gap at the top in Group D, where they are now one point behind with three more matches to go in the second round stage of qualifying.“Everybody knows how important it is for Ghana to qualify for the World Cup. We will keep on working hard and do our best for the nation.”Waris played alongside Asamoah Gyan, who opened the scoring in the first half and the Spartak Moscow player has hailed his partnership with the Ghana captain. “He [Gyan] is a great partner and we talk to each other. Everybody will like to play with him and take part in that,” he said.