“The best thing for Mauritius would be if the canal Suez closed.” Robin Meech only half-jokingly made this assertion. For if this situation did arise, the 35,000 ships passing Mauritius annually would almost quadruple. Nevertheless, contends the chairman of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), Mauritius is well situated in the Indian Ocean.

While Mauritius is “never going to be Singapore” and its record 50+ million tons of marine fuels for 2017, there is prospect for our country to boost its capacity to a million tons in “four, five years”, posits Meech. Adding that current government investment in infrastructure should support that business volume.

But what about the risk of oil spills, which would increase with a steady surge in bunkering activities? The collision of two vessels in the East China Sea and the resulting oil spill are a reminder that accidents “are going to happen”, the IBIA chairman admits. Although the number of ship collisions have decreased “incredibly”.

The current oil spill will be “a nasty oil slick but “we are learning to mitigate and we are using new ways to clean them up”.

The IBIA offered a bunkering training as part of the Mauritius Maritime Week organised by the Mauritius Ports Authority. The training was held on the January 22nd and 23rd, 2018.

The Mauritius Maritime Week will be officially launched this January 24th by the Mauritian Prime minister.