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Mauritius oil spill: Japanese carrier ship splits apart as remaining fuel spreads into ocean waters

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  • Mauritius oil spill: Japanese carrier ship splits apart as remaining fuel spreads into ocean waters

    Saturday 15 August 2020 21:30, UK

    Environmental groups have warned the ship's oil leak has "irreversibly damaged" the reefs in the ocean.

    The Japanese carrier ship which spilt tonnes of oil into the Indian Ocean off Mauritius has broken apart.

    The MV Wakashio, which has been stranded in the water since it struck a reef on 25 July, split in two on Saturday afternoon following warnings that the ship's condition was worsening, the Mauritius National Crisis Committee said.

    A plan to tow the ship back to shore has been "implemented" and the clean-up operation is ongoing, it added.

    ... "Around 814 metric tonnes of oil liquid waste, 318 metric tonnes of solid waste sludge and contaminated debris, and 250 cubic metres of saturated artisan booms have been collected as at midday on 15 August."

  • #2
    AUGUST 13, 2020 / 3:40 PM / 2 DAYS AGO

    'Massive poisonous shock': Scientists fear lasting impact from Mauritius oil spill

    Duncan Miriri, Omar Mohammed, Matthew Green

    The full impact of the toxic spill is still unfolding, scientists say. As the Indian Ocean island’s residents scramble to mop up the oil slicks and clumps, they are seeing dead eels and fish floating in the water, as fuel-soaked seabirds limp onto shore.

    Satellite images also show the 1,000 tonnes of spilled oil spreading northward along the coastline from the spill site in the turquoise waters of Blue Bay Marine Park.

    “This oil spill occurred in one of, if not the most, sensitive areas in Mauritius,” oceanographer and environmental engineer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo told Reuters by telephone from the island, where he was surveying the disaster. “We are talking of decades to recover from this damage, and some of it may never recover.”

    ... The wildlife at risk include the seagrasses blanketing sand in the shallow waters, clownfish darting around coral reefs, mangrove trees corralling the coastline with their tangled root systems, and the critically endangered Pink Pigeon, endemic to the island.

    Giant tortoises slow-walk through a nature reserve on the nearby islet, Ile-aux-Aigrettes, where there is also a scientific research station. Altogether, Blue Bay Marine park counts 38 types of coral and 78 species of fish.

    The spill brings “a massive poisonous shock to the system,” said Adam Moolna, an environmental scientist from Mauritius who lectures at Keele University in Britain. “This oil will have cascading effects across the webs of life.”

    ... The spill came from the Japanese-owned MV Wakashio, which rammed into a reef in the marine park on July 25. It is still unclear why the ship was sailing so closely to the coast. About a week later, oil began gushing from the cracked vessel.

    Some corals have lived for centuries at the fringes of Mauritius. Now smothered for days in heavy fuel oil spilled from a wrecked Japanese tanker nearby, parts of those reefs may be in trouble.