The bulk carrier MV Benita, which ran aground on June 17 when it hit the coast of Mauritius, has been refloated and afterwards towed to a position some 20 miles off the coast.

The Greek company Five Oceans Salvage said that a skeleton crew will remain on board in order to assess the ship’s seaworthiness and general condition.

Since the initial grounding and throughout the preparatory work to refloat the vessel, stringent antipollution measures have been in place in close collaboration with Mauritian authorities.

Prior to yesterday’s refloating, Five Oceans Salvage removed the vessel’s bunker fuel, lubricant oil and other pollutants on board. Cargo tanks and void spaces were sealed before being pressurized in order to facilitate the successful refloating attempt.

The cleaning of the shoreline in the vicinity of the grounding has made good progress, although some areas that had previously been cleaned will be given renewed attention after reports of new oil releases following the re-pressurisation of the vessel’s cargo holds prior to refloating, according to The London Club.

Environmental monitoring of the Ilot Brocus and surrounding coastline will continue by on-scene contractors and the Mauritian authorities to ensure that there are no incidents of pollution following the refloating.

The 1998-built bulk carrier, which was carrying some 145 tons of oil, ran aground as a result of a fight which broke out between the vessel’s crewmembers.

At the time of the incident, the Liberian-flagged ship, crewed by 23 seafarers, was on its way from the Indian port of Paradip to the port of Durban, South Africa.