United Nations experts arrive in Mauritius to assist in oil spill

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 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. Around 1,000 tons of oil has already washed up on the east coast of the Indian Ocean island, contaminating once-pristine lagoons and shoreline.

But the key challenge is stop the flow of oil, the group says; until the source of the leak is addressed, shoreline clean-up will accomplish little. A combination of volunteers, non-governmental organizations, and Mauritius' governmental efforts are cleaning up the spill.

There are concerns that the remaining 2500 tonnes of oil still on board could spill if the vessel cracks in two.

The officials say it's hard to show an outlook for completing recovery of the leaked oil, citing unstable weather conditions.

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.

Last week, Jugnauth said his country was in an "environmental crisis".

We are expecting the worst. A crack in the ship has widened, threatening to spill even more oil into the ocean. 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 protected wetlands.

The Mauritian government is also using sea booms to control the spill and vacuuming up oil from the water's surface.

"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.

Bystanders stare at MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a coral reef.

"Mauritius has no such expertise and required resources", he said.

Mauritius depends on the sea for ecotourism, which has suffered from the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to environmental devastation, the spill could have "dire consequences for Mauritius' economy, food security and health", Greenpeace Africa warns.

Following a request from Prime Minister Jugnauth, France-in line with the POLMAR Plan- dispatched a team of 10 French specialists from La Reunion on Monday, 10 August, and a Japanese team of experts is due to arrive on Tuesday, 11 August.

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