Mauritius races to halt oil spill from ship
Already more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel has washed up on the eastern coast of Mauritius, polluting its coral reefs, protected lagoons and shoreline.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 05:16 IST
Urgent efforts increased in Mauritius on Monday to empty a stranded Japanese ship of an estimated 2,500 tonnes of oil before it breaks up and increases the contamination of the island’s Indian Ocean coastline.
Already more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel has washed up on the eastern coast of Mauritius, polluting its coral reefs, protected lagoons and shoreline. High winds and waves are pounding the MV Wakashio, which was showing signs of splitting apart and dumping its remaining cargo oil into the waters surrounding Mauritius. The bulk carrier had run aground on a coral reef on July 25. and later started to leak oil.
The Mauritius PM’s office said on Monday the situation was still very serious and they were preparing for “a worst case scenario”.
Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said, “We are expecting the worst. The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little.”
French experts arrived from the nearby island of Reunion and were deploying booms to contain any new oil spill. France sent a navy ship, military aircraft and technical advisers after Mauritius appealed for international help. Efforts were also underway to get other ships to pump oil out of the MV Wakashio.