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Oil spill threatens ecological disaster as Mauritius declares emergency

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Oil spill threatens ecological disaster as Mauritius declares emergency

 

2020-08-08T180205Z_2_LYNXNPEG770DV_RTROPTP_4_MAURITIUS-ENVIRONMENT.JPG

A satellite image shows the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio and its oil spill after it ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius, August 7, 2020. Satellite image ?2020 Maxar Technologies/via REUTERS.

 

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Fuel spilling from a Japanese bulk carrier that ran aground on a reef in Mauritius two weeks ago is creating an ecological disaster, endangering corals, fish and other marine life around the Indian Ocean island, officials and environmentalists say.

 

The MV Wakashio, owned by the Nagashiki Shipping Company, struck the reef on Mauritius' southeast coast on July 25.

 

On Thursday, the government said fuel was leaking from a crack in the vessel's hull and Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency, pleading for international help.

 

"The sinking of the #Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius," Jugnauth said.

 

Environmental group Greenpeace said the spill was to likely to be one of the most terrible ecological crises that Mauritius has ever seen.

 

"Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d'Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health," Greenpeace said in a statement.

 

Satellite images released on Friday showed a slick spreading out into the turquoise waters surrounding the stricken vessel. Some fuel has washed ashore.

 

France was sending specialist teams and equipment to help Mauritius deal with the spill, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

 

A French military aircraft from the neighbouring island of Reunion, a French overseas territory, carrying pollution-control equipment would make two flights over the spill site on Saturday. A naval vessel carrying booms and absorbents would also set sail, authorities on Reunion said.

 

"When biodiversity is in danger, there is an urgent need to act," Macron said. "You can count on our support."

 

Nagashiki Shipping Company said it had tried to free the tanker but the effort was hampered by persistent bad weather.

 

"We will do our utmost working with the Mauritius authorities and relevant Japanese organizations to offload the oil still in the ship, clean up the spill and safely remove the vessel," Nagashiki said in a statement.

 

The tanker is 299.5 meters long and 50 meters wide and has a crew of 20, it said. It is flagged in Panama with Okiyo Marine, an affiliate of Nagashiki Shipping, listed as the owner.

 

It is grounded at what the ministry of the environment has described as a sensitive zone with the leaking fuel spreading a black stain in the azure water endangering the diverse marine life that attracts tourists from around the world.

 

Videos posted on social media showed residents near where the ship was grounded dipping sticks into the ocean that glistened with the black stain of the spilled oil.

 

Mauritius, famous for its pristine beaches, is popular with tourists who last year contributed 63 billion Mauritius rupees ($1.6 billion) to the economy.

 

(Additonal reporting by Omar Mohammed in Nairobi, Richard Lough in Paris and Tim Kelly in Tokyo; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-08-09
 
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God I hope they can pump that cargo off before it gets worse hopefully they can find a ship to hold it most are full because of the oil glut at least japan has the wear withal to deal with it hopefully the Japanese government will get involved 900 by 150 foot holey cow that’s a vlcc class ship she’s a biggie that’s ugly big time

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You’d think that by now they’re able to build tankers that can’t leak no matter what!!! This drives me up the wall! I just hope they’ll get it under control ASAP! 

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A few years back, it was made a mandatory requirement world-wide that all tankers had to be double-hulled. Single-hulled tankers were scrapped, or repurposed.

This won't protect from severe collisions or, groundings that break the vessel's back.

It was a step in the right direction, though.

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I wonder if there is a profitable way to monetize the use of oil-eating microbes.  If only there were a way to force oil tanker operators to fund such a use.

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2 hours ago, wpcoe said:

I wonder if there is a profitable way to monetize the use of oil-eating microbes.  If only there were a way to force oil tanker operators to fund such a use.

 

the downside of oiltanker accidents and resulting leaks are generally vastly exaggerated, even in arctic conditions

 

it looks awful when it happens, beaches/coastlines are bogged down,  costs an arm and a leg and very long time to clean up  lots of birdlife goes down the drain fisheries hardly affected at all

 

since the first big accident, Torey Canyon, off the southern coast of UK early in the 1960s, experience has shown (without exception) that a handful of years after the accident the fisheries in the affected area goes through the roof

 

the fisheries become way way better than what anyone can remember

 

(why? oil=CH, thats what we (and the guys below the surface) eat)

 

 

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