From Mauritius, the fear of an ecological disaster

Mauritian authorities announced on Thursday that oil had been flowing from a bulk carrier stranded on a reef since the end of July on the island’s southeast coast, raising fears of an ecological disaster.

Against an oil spill from Mauritius? The Mauritian authorities announced on Thursday, August 6, that oil had been flowing from a bulk carrier stranded on a reef since the end of July on the island’s southeast coast, raising fears of this scenario.

The Mauritian Ministry of the Environment said in a statement that it was informed on Thursday about the presence of a “crack in the ship MV Wakashio” and about an “oil leak”. He asked the public not to venture out on the beaches and surrounding lagoons.

A black stream escaping from the bulk carrier stranded on a reef since July 25 could be seen on Thursday, after it had begun to sink aft and take on water.

The boat, which is owned by a Japanese shipowner but which sailed with the Panamanian flag, traveled empty but carried 200 tons of diesel and 3,800 tons of heavy oil, according to the local press. Its crew was evacuated.

Attempts to stabilize the ship failed

It ran aground on Esny Point, a Ramsar-classified wetland, like the nearby Blue Bay Marine Park and also threatened. These two sites were protected by pollution systems, the ministry said. “We are in a situation of environmental crisis,” Mauritian Environment Minister Kavy Ramano admitted at a news conference.

“This is the first time we are facing such a disaster and we are not equipped enough to deal with this problem,” added Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo.

The Mauritian government has therefore turned to the French authorities on neighboring Reunion Island for help, he said.

According to the two ministers, all attempts to stabilize the ship have failed due to poor sea conditions. Efforts to pump the oil have so far proved unsuccessful.

Environmentalists fear that the boat will eventually break down, which could lead to even greater oil spills and colossal damage at sea and on the coast.

Mauritius is very popular for its lagoons and paradise beaches.

With AFP