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Why So Much World Trade Passes Mauritius’s Pristine Beaches

  • The island lies on the shortest route from Cape Town to Asia
  • Sailing far from land means far from help or human contact
Oil from the Wakashio vessel is pushed by currents towards the Grand Port bay.

Oil from the Wakashio vessel is pushed by currents towards the Grand Port bay.

Source: AFP via Getty Images

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The bulk carrier Wakashio was 11 days into a month-long voyage to Brazil when it hit a reef off Mauritius causing it to spill fuel into the island’s crystal clear waters, endangering baby turtles and unique plants in a nearby nature reserve. Given the vastness of the Indian ocean, why was the vessel there in the first place?