A tow operation has begun off Mauritius to move one part of the grounded bulker Wakashio to deeper water.

The government's National Crisis Committee said the bow section of the 203,000-dwt capesize (built 2007) is being taken eight miles from the outer limit of the reef it polluted, at a depth of 2km.

"This plan was validated and approved by the three experts sent by France in Mauritius," it added.