Mauritius, a paradise with crystal clear water threatened by an oil spill

Aid operations continue around the bulk company Washashio, founded since July 25 on the southeast coast of Mauritius. A French naval vessel, supported by air forces, has been trying to contain the oil rigs since Saturday. flees the ship. Back in pictures of a new maritime pollution.

Mauritius police have planned to board the bulk carrier Wakashio on Sunday, August 9, stranded since July 25 on the island’s southeast coast, to study the best way to evacuate their fuel cargo and avoid pollution. of scope. Mauritius’s Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, for his part, called a crisis meeting between the relevant authorities and thanked France for its help.

A French naval vessel, Le Champlain, went to Mauritius on Saturday, while an air force plane was to plan two rotations over the spill site, both equipped with specialized pollution equipment and having experts on board. “We are now distributing teams and equipment from Reunion,” the French president tweeted, noting that “when biodiversity is in danger, there is an urgent need to act. France is there. Together with the Mauritian people.”

Wakashio, which is owned by a Japanese company but flew the Panamanian flag, carried 3,800 tonnes of heavy oil and 200 tonnes of diesel when it struck a reef in Pointe d’Esny at the end of July.

Mauritian authorities announced on Thursday that oil was leaking from the cracked hull of the bulkhead.

Aerial photos taken in recent days already show the scale of the disaster: huge black slicks in the azure sea moving towards the lagoons, coral reefs and the idyllic white sandy beaches that have made Mauritius a gem. of green tourism. Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend on these waters for food and ecotourism, in an area that has the world’s most beautiful coral reefs and is a haven for rare and endemic fauna and wetlands. unique classified. Environmental activists fear that the boat will eventually break down and cause colossal damage at sea and on the coast.

Mauritius authorities announced on August 6 that oil had leaked 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. 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. It ran aground at Esny Point, a Ramsar-classified wetland, like the nearby Blue Bay Marine Park and also threatened. © Georges de La Tremoille, AP
Bulk carrier MV Wakashio went ashore on July 25, but it was not until several days before the Mauritian authorities noticed that lots of oil
Bulk carrier MV Wakashio went ashore on July 25, but it was not until several days before the Mauritian authorities noticed that lots of oil © AFP
Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, announced on Twitter on Saturday that he had asked for help from France.
Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, announced on Twitter on Saturday that he had asked for help from France. “The sinking of #Wakashio represents a danger to Mauritius. Our country does not have the skills and expertise to return stranded ships, so I asked for help from #France to @EmmanuelMacron,” he wrote. Emmanuel Macron responded on Twitter that he had mobilized resources on the island of Reunion, about 200 kilometers away. “When biodiversity is at stake, action is urgent. France is there. Together with the people of Mauritius. (…) We now distribute teams and equipment from Reunion Island. © Daren Mauree, AFP
On the coast, dozens of volunteers, like this man, tried to recycle oil slicks with makeshift means and to erect floating ponds, while others, on the beach, braided hemp barriers and cloth to contain the narrow fuel that escapes from the ship.
On the coast, dozens of volunteers, like this man, struggled to recover oil spills with makeshift means and to establish floating ponds, while others on the beach braided hemp barriers and cloth to contain the narrow fuel that escapes from the ship. © Jean-Aurelio Prudence, L’Express Maurice, AFP
On Saturday, August 8, in anticipation of an intervention by police who must approach the stranded ship on Sunday to study the best way to evacuate it, cleaning teams were sent ashore to protect it from the fuel.
On Saturday, August 8, in anticipation of an intervention by police who must approach the stranded ship on Sunday to study the best way to evacuate it, cleaning teams were sent to the coast to protect it from the fuel. © Reuben Pillay, Reuters
As of Saturday, a tactical military transport flight (Casa CN-235) with equipment and anti-pollution equipment made two rotations to Mauritius from Reunion.  Coastal ponds as well as additional equipment (including several types of recovery facilities as well as absorbent and offshore ponds) were provided to Mauritians.  Last Sunday we could see the coastal ponds deployed on the coast.
As of Saturday, a tactical military transport aircraft (Casa CN-235) with equipment and anti-pollution equipment made two rotations to Mauritius from Reunion. Coastal ponds as well as additional equipment (including several types of recovery facilities as well as absorbent and offshore ponds) were provided to Mauritians. Last Sunday we could see the coastal ponds deployed on the coast. AP