Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean is close to an environmental disaster after a carrier ship struck a coral reef off its coast in the last week of July.
The MV Wakashio, a Japanese ship, was carrying cargo consisting of 4290 tonnes of fuel oil, 228 tonnes of diesel, and 99 tonnes of lubricant oil from China to Brazil.
The Wakashio hit a coral reef, near Pointe d’Esny close to the Mauritian south-east coast. In the following weeks, a crack in the hull of the ship appeared due to the waves repeatedly hitting the ship.
After the collision, the crew of the ship was safely evacuated and efforts to reduce the damage to the ship were made but in vain.
Dozens of tortoises and exotic flora have been shifted by wildlife workers and volunteers. Due to rough weather conditions, locals and environmentalists fear that the oil spill will possibly worsen leading to devastating effects for marine ecology.
Happy Khambule, Greenpeace’s climate and energy manager said, “Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health.”
While the Mauritian authorities have declared an environmental emergency and an appeal for urgent aid was made to the United Nations, Akihiko Oko, the Executive Vice President of Mitsui OSK apologized for the oil spill and offered their help.
The French President Emmanuel Macron has stated that it will assist Mauritius in containing the oil spill.
Locals are doing their best to absorb the oil spill by making stacks of straw-filled in cloth sacks in a desperate attempt to tame the chaos the oil spill has unleashed on the small island nation but environmentalists fear that this won’t be enough to save the endangered biodiversity of the region.
Satellite images show a dark slick gradually spreading in the pristine blue waters of the “very sensitive” wetlands.
The marine life and pristine coral reefs which are a popular tourist attraction spot is in extreme danger and will put the livelihood of many Mauritians on the line if the oil spill is not contained. This oil spill during a climate emergency is an ecological and economical disaster for Mauritius and its people.