Oil spill in Mauritius causes ecological disaster, France and India assist

The environmental group, Greenpeace said the spill was probably the worst ecological crises that Mauritius has ever seen.

The Four Seasons Golf Club on December 01, 2018 in Poste de Flacq, Mauritius. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

An oil spill from the MV Wakashio, a Japanese ship that struck a coral reef in Mauritius on July 25, has imperiled fish and other marine life around the Indian Ocean, according to government officials and environmentalists.

Reuters reported that Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency on Thursday and pleaded for international help.

“The sinking of the Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius,” Jugnauth said.

The environmental group, Greenpeace said the spill was probably the worst ecological crises that Mauritius has ever seen.

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Images released on Friday show that a large quantity of the fuel oil that leaked from the demolished vessel had mixed-in with the turquoise water, and some of it had begun to wash ashore.

As of Saturday morning, the condition of the MV Wakashio had worsened, and by the afternoon, the stern section of the Japanese-owned ship had completely detached.

Japanese environmental Minister, Shinjiro Koizumi said Tokyo plans to send a team of officials from the ministry to assess the damage.

Scientists have predicted that damage resulting from the spill could affect Mauritius and its economy, which relies on tourism, for many decades to come.

Following the Mauritius government’s plea for help, both France and India offered assistance.

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India sent over 30 tonnes of technical equipment by aircraft. In addition, a 10-member team of Indian coast guard officials trained in oil spill containment has been deployed to Mauritius to help with the clean-up operation.

A French miliary aircraft and a navy vessel carrying technical pollution-control equipment, booms and absorbents also provided assistance.

“When biodiversity is in danger, there is an urgent need to act,” said French President, Emmanuel Macron. “You can count on our support.”

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