Oil spill threatens Mauritius: freighter that has run aground on a reef is losing massive amounts of oil and the crack in the tank is getting bigger and bigger. The island nation in the Indian Ocean declared an environmental emergency.
- A freighter hit a reef off Mauritius on July 25th - oil has been leaking since August 9th.
- The freighter has already lost more than 1,000 tons - 1,800 more are still on board.
- Volunteers off the coast are trying to mitigate the impending disaster - Japan and France are sending aid.
Update from August 11, 2020 : The situation is worsening off Mauritius . The wrecked oil freighter threatens to break in two. Around 1800 tons are still on board . Rescue workers try to pump the oil out of the ship. The Japanese freighter “Wakashio” was tied to a tug to prevent it from drifting away. It is located about two kilometers from the mainland in a lagoon near several nature reserves.
1180 tons of fuel have already leaked from a crack in the tank, reports the news agency dpa . Around 460 tons of it were collected from the sea and on the beach. "This is the worst ecological disaster that Mauritius has ever seen," said Ken Arian, an adviser to the Government of Mauritius, as dpa reported. The accident was a "huge catastrophe for ecology," said Arian. "I don't know how many years it will take until (...) this region recovers."
The nation of the Indian Ocean has declared an environmental emergency. Japan pledged its full support to the vacation paradise. Environmentalists and experts ask why no more was done when the ship ran aground on June 25th . Drone images show the whole oil disaster.
Drone footage shows the extent of the oil spill in Mauritius https://t.co/p7sIoWzf2Q pic.twitter.com/2kPVcwOs76- The National (@TheNationalUAE) August 9, 2020
Disaster threatens holiday paradise: Freighter off Mauritius is losing massive amounts of oil - thousands of volunteers are fighting
First report from August 9th
Mauritius - Large parts of the turquoise-blue sea are already colored brown-black - the picturesque coasts of the holiday paradise Mauritius are threatened by an environmental catastrophe of enormous proportions.
On July 25, a freighter with around 4,000 tons of fuel on board hit a reef - but oil has only been leaking since last week. Due to the bad weather and rough seas, experts fear that the hull of the tanker could continue to be damaged and lose even more of its cargo. Around 1000 tons have already leaked.
Oil spill threatens Mauritius: Thousands of volunteers help on the beaches
Thousands of volunteers from the local population tried to avert the worst for their island on Sunday:
The south coast of Mauritius Blue Bay is in poor condition, the locals are working hand in hand and doing their best to help. pic.twitter.com/Wmog85qykJ- Mauritius Island (@MauritiusGuide) August 9, 2020
With the help of floating barriers, they try to prevent the oil slick from spreading further. But it is a race against time: the first lagoons with otherwise brilliant white sand are already covered with oil. Many of the helpers were also covered from head to toe with a film of oil after their work. Previously, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth had declared an environmental emergency. Not only the beaches are threatened, but also coral reefs on the coast, which are among the most beautiful in the world. So far, all attempts to get the oil off the board by helicopter have failed due to the bad weather * .
Oil disaster off Mauritius: Japan and France send aid - crew are no longer allowed to enter the ship
The freighter comes from Japan, it had sailed under the Panamanian flag. The 20-person crew was able to be brought to safety, but has not been allowed to enter the ship since then - for reasons of investigation, only the captain, accompanied by him, should fetch the log from the ship.
Thousands of helpers are fighting an impending oil spill in Mauritius
© Jean Aurelio PRUDENCE / L'Express Maurice / AFP
The ship operator Mitsui OSK Lines apologized for the accident and promised to "do everything possible to solve the case". Japan announced that it would send a team of experts on Monday . France had already sent experts and equipment from the neighboring island of La Réunion to Mauritius . (kat / AFP - * Merkur.de is part of the Germany-wide Ippen-Digital editorial network.)
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List of rubric lists: © DAREN MAUREE / AFP