Oil Spill T-Shirt
A Japanese bulk oil carrier struck a coral reef off Mauritius on 25 July 2020. The ship began to leak fuel oil in the following weeks and broke apart in mid August. Much of the oil on board Wakashio was pumped out before it broke in half but still an estimated 1,000 tonnes of oil spilled into the ocean.
The island’s environment minister told the press that it was the first time that the country faced a catastrophe of this magnitude and that they were insufficiently equipped to handle the problem.
Why this is different?
Unlike most previous offshore spills, this has taken place near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems. The Blue Bay Marine Park reserve is a wetland of international importance.
So, it’s the location rather than the size of the spill which is causing greatest concern about its potentially serious environmental impact.
The stunning turquoise waters of the blue lagoon outside the coastal village of Mahébourg in Mauritius are now stained black and brown.
Tourism plays a major role in the economy of Mauritius and is centered around marine scenery. Animals are likely to be endangered by the oil spill.
Mauritius declared an environmental emergency. Salvage crews and volunteers raced against the clock to pump the remaining 3,000 tonnes of oil off the ship. Environmental groups warned the damage to coral reefs and once-pristine coastal areas could be irreversible.
The Mauritius government is seeking compensation from the company. Nagashiki has pledged to “sincerely” respond to requests for compensation over damage to the marine environment.
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