Mauritius oil spill: Teams scramble to pump out bunker fuel on wrecked ship
Fuel has been spilling from a Japanese bulk carrier, the MV Wakashio, after it ran aground on a coral reef in Mauritius two weeks ago.
It's reported that large cracks have appeared in the hull of a cargo ship which was carrying nearly 4,000 tonnes of fuel oil when it struck a reef on 25 July.
About 1,000 tonnes of oil have already leaked into the Indian Ocean and there are growing fears that the damaged vessel may break apart.
Mukhtar Joonas, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Mauritius in Cape Town, says salvage teams are aiming to offload the remaining bunker fuel onboard the vessel by Wednesday.
However, Joonas says efforts are being hampered by bad weather conditions.
Joonas, who spoke to Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on Tuesday, says all hands are on deck to curtail the ecological damage of the oil spill.
The prime minister declared a state of emergency late last week. Over the weekend, panicked Mauritian residents used sugar cane leaves to create makeshift barriers in an effort to contain the oil spill.
Mauritius has received international aid from countries around the world rushing to help the island nation.
France, India, Japan and South Africa are some of the countries that joined the salvage effort, Joonas tells CapeTalk.
We've received help from Japan and France. They are going to be able to pump out the rest of the bunker by tomorrow but there's bad weather coming in.Mukhtar Joonas, Honorary Consul General of Mauritius
They fear that more oil will be spilled before they have a chance to pump the whole thing out.Mukhtar Joonas, Honorary Consul General of Mauritius
Aerial images showed a dark slick spreading in the waters.
Absolutely shattered by the ecological crisis faced by Mauritius. These pictures of the oil spill, wrecking our most beautiful lagoons, were taken by my friend Eric Villars on his flight to Rodrigues this morning. #mauritius #oilspill #wakashio #bluebay #coralreefs #marinepark pic.twitter.com/DRTLthCZw1— Priya Hein (@PriyaHein) August 7, 2020
⚠️PLEASE SHARE AS WE MUST GET MORE HELP FOR MAURITIUS!⚠️ This oil spill is happening now in Mauritius as their coastline is covered in thick black oil, killing all wildlife & marine life in its path, but they're ill-equipped for the cleanup SO please retweet/let's get them help! pic.twitter.com/KB7L22qoYz— Karmagawa (@karmagawa) August 9, 2020
A massive oil spill occurred off the shore of Mauritius, causing immense ecological devastation of its ocean ecosystem.— Greenpeace Africa (@Greenpeaceafric) August 11, 2020
It is yet another example of the risks posed by oil >> https://t.co/6o9yGslPqi #BreakFreeFromFossilFuels
The Mauritius oil spill is bad and set to get worse as the ship threatens to crack in half and release ~2.5x the quantity already spilled into the extremely ecologically sensitive bay https://t.co/TKD77FPgfr pic.twitter.com/nrlNhx50m2— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) August 11, 2020
WATCH: Aerial footage shows oil spill near the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 9, 2020
The government of Mauritius declared a “state of environmental emergency” late Friday as coastal areas including an island nature reserve face an ecological disaster. https://t.co/bCRj3HNhn4 pic.twitter.com/iJjaskFCc6
Dr Vikash Tatayah, the Conservation Director at the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, describes the oil spill as "the most serious ecological disaster that Mauritius has known."
The environmentalist says the spill has threatened thousands of species, including island ecosystems and marine life that is already endangered.
It is the most serious ecological disaster that Mauritius has known.Dr Vikash Tatayah, Conservation Director - Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
Listen to Dr. Vikash Tatayah in conversation with Mike Wills:
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