Science

Mauritius Declares Emergency After Bunker Spill

Mauritius Declares Emergency After Bunker Spill”

At least 1,000 tons of oil have leaked from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio after it hit a reef off the paradise island in the Indian Ocean.

While 1,000 tonnes of fuel have already been spilled and contained by volunteers, the ship is now at risk of cracking open - and of pouring an additional 4,000 tonnes of fuel into the sea.

"The sinking of the #Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius", Jugnauth said. "We are very affected by this problem", said Eldridge Larhubarbe, a student. "We must react by accelerating our withdrawal from fossil fuels", added Khambule.

"It is clear that at some point the ship will fall apart", he said Monday night in a televised speech. The government is also using sea booms to control the spill, and vacuuming the oil floating on the surface.

The bulker struck a reef at Pointe d'Esny, an ecological jewel fringed by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife, and unique RAMSAR-listed wetlands. Residents and conservationists have reported seeing the early impacts of the spill on the local wildlife.

"We are starting to see dead fish".

"The current oil spill on the reef near Pointe d'Esny on the southeast coast of the Mauritian island is likely one of the most bad ecological crises ever seen on the small island country", Greenpeace Africa wrote in a statement.

The weather, which is also fanning the oil slick further up the coast, is not forecast to improve until evening. Mauritius has maintained its reputation as a conservation success, and one of the top global destinations for nature lovers.

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Experts warn a further rupture could unleash a spill that will be beyond catastrophic for the fragile coastal ecosystem upon which Mauritius, and its economy, relies.

Japan will dispatch a six-person disaster relief team, on the request of the Mauritius government, to help with removing the spilt oil, according to a statement by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

They are now asking for help from France because they do not have the skills and expertise to do such things. 'It breaks our hearts to see the damage'.

Mauritius police said Sunday they would execute a search warrant granted by a court to board the MV Wakashio and seize items of interest, including communication exchanges, as part of its probe into the spill.

A spokesman at Mitsui OSK Lines, which operates the Wakashio, owned by another Japanese company, Nagashiki Shipping, said that it would send a team of experts as soon as Tuesday if they tested negative for coronavirus. "Oil prevention measures are in place and an oil boom has been deployed around the vessel". Mitsui could come under heavy fire for its role in the accident, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Videos shared by political party Rezistans ek Alternati on August 7 and 8 show citizens gathered near Mahebourg Waterfront ready to lend a hand as the country faces an environmental crisis.

"We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused", said Akihiko Ono, an executive vice president at Mitsui O.S.K., in a news conference here.



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