Mauritius declared an environmental emergency on Friday over fuel oil leak from stranded Japanese bulk carrier off the country’s coast, reports Kyodo News.
Danger for Mauritius!
A state of environmental emergency was declared by The Mauritius government on Friday over a large amount of fuel that leaked into the sea from a stranded Japanese-owned bulk carrier off the country’s coast.
Mauritius is home to world-renowned coral reefs, and tourism is a crucial part of the nation’s economy.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth in a Twitter post said that the stranded Panama-flagged vessel Wakashio “represents a danger for Mauritius”.
He added that he had asked for help from France as the nation does not have the skills to refloat stranded ships. To his tweet he also added the below aerial photo showing a dark brown swath of oil leaking from a tilted ship spreading in blue turquoise waters.
Carrier that grounded on coral reef
According to the Mauritius government, the bulk carrier Wakashio, belonging to Nagashiki Shipping Co. and operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., was found to have run aground on a coral reef off Mauritius on the night of July 25 local time.
For more information read our article [Watch] Giant Carrier Runs Aground Despite Warnings
Carrier grounding location
The grounding occurred near Pointe d’Esny, an area designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which is close to Blue Bay Marine Park, another Ramsar site.
Tokyo-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said in a statement Friday that Wakashio was en route to Brazil area from China via Singapore when it ran aground.
According to the shipping company, while a rescue operation was under way on Aug. 6, (Japan time), the fuel oil started to leak “affecting local sea and land areas tremendously.” But the amount of oil leaked remains unknown.
“We will make an all-out effort to resolve the situation early,” the statement said.
Towards reducing environmental impact
The spokesperson of Nagashiki Shipping said, “In order to reduce the impact on the environment, we have put up booms and commenced recovering the oil.”
About the vessel and crew
According to local reports, the vessel was carrying around 200 tons of diesel and 3,800 tons of bunker fuel.
The approximately 300-meter-long tanker, built in 2007, was carrying no cargo at the time.
According to the Japanese companies report, all 20 members of the multinational crew were evacuated safely and are unharmed.
Attempts to stabilise the vessel
According to reports from the environment ministry, attempts to stabilise the vessel and to pump out the oil had failed due to rough seas.
Police have opened an inquiry into the spill.
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Source: Kyodo News