Mauritius declares environment emergency due to oil spill


The island of Mauritius declared a state of environment emergency on Friday as a wreaked ship spills tons of oil into the Indian ocean and pushes the island on the edge of an environmental disaster.

Over 4000 tons of oil got spilled into the sea from a stranded Japanese owned bulk carrier off the country’s coast. The damage is so severe that it is visible from space. The images were taken from a satellite operate by Maxar Technology. These images show large patches of black oil contaminating the lagoons.

The ship named MV Wakashio got aground on the eastern shore of Mauritius on 25th July. This ship is currently lying at Pointed d’Esny, this area contains wetlands and is near a marine park. The ship was empty when it ran aground but had about 4000 tons of fuel onboard. The crew having around 20 members were evacuated but the large carrier has since begun leaking fuel into the surrounding water.

On Sunday, Mitsui OSK apologizes for the seepage of around 1000 tons of oil into the Indian ocean.

Akihio Ono, executive vice president of Mitsui OSK said at a news conference “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused”.

The ship’s owner, Nagashiki Shipping said, “Due to bad weather and constant pounding over the past few days, the starboard side bunker tank of the vessel has been breached and an amount of fuel oil has escaped into the sea.”

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Mauritius is famous for its coral reefs, and tourism is a crucial part of the economy. Coral reefs are very sensitive to pollution and due to oil spills is now at risk of dying along with thousands of other marine animals’ species. The bulk carrier from Friday has been seeping fuel into the protected marine park spoiling coral reefs, mangroves forests, and various other endangered species.

The Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth said that the nation did not have the skills and enterprise to refloat the stranded ship as he appealed to France for help. France being the closest neighbor of the island has also agreed to lend a helping hand.

The French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Saturday “When biodiversity is in peril, there is an urgency to act. France is there. Alongside the people of Mauritius. You can count on our support dear Jugnauth.”

The French embassy on the island said that a military craft from Reunion (the closest island to Mauritius, which falls under the territory of France) will bring pollution control equipment to Mauritius.

Many volunteers have gathered to clean the shore, covered in black sludge in futile attempt to hold back the oily tide.

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But the sludge has already made its way to the nation’s untouched coral reefs, marine habitats, and beaches, causing extreme damage to the fragile coastal ecosystem of Mauritius.

Mauritius is also looking forward to getting help from United Nation to call for experts in containing oil spills and environment protection.

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