Photos reveal devastation from oil spill in Mauritius

Pablo Tucker
August 12, 2020

It's reported that large cracks have appeared in the hull of a cargo ship which was carrying almost 4,000 tonnes of fuel oil when it struck a reef on 25 July.

Japanese-owned cargo ship MV Wakashio ran aground in Pointe d'Esny, off the coast of Mauritius, on July 25, 2020, causing a massive oil spill in the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean lagoon.

"We will do our utmost toward resolving the situation quickly", Mitsui OSK said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that it doubted whether the incident would have a large enough impact on its earnings to warrant issuing a disclosure notice to investors. Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on Monday said that the country must prepare for the worst after multiple cracks were observed on the hull.

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, said that France was sending specialist teams and equipment to help Mauritius to deal with the spill.

Mauritians are making booms out of sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and hair that people are voluntarily cutting off and floating them on the sea to prevent the oil spill spreading, island resident Romina Tello told Reuters.

Mukhtar Joonas, Honorary Consul General of MauritiusThey fear that more oil will be spilled before they have a chance to pump the whole thing out.

"We don't know what may happen further with the boat, it may crack more", said volunteer Yvan Luckhun. Tourism is an important part of the economy and had already taken a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mauritius has declared a state of emergency and former colonial ruler France has sent aid in what environmentalists said could be a major ecological crisis.

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting endangered plants and animals that exist only in Mauritius, says it has helped lay booms to protect the Ile aux Aigrettes nature preserve as well as protected wetlands on the main island.

"There is some anger and some criticism from the civil society that the government may have taken too much time to respond", Tatayah said. A Japanese bulk carrier struck a coral reef weeks ago and started spilling oil into the pristine waters.

A crack inside the ship's hull has been growing, and government officials warn the entire ship could split in half, releasing all the oil remaining inside the vessel.

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