Mauritius declares state of emergency over 1,000-tonne oil spill in the Indian Ocean

Specialist teams from France and Japan have joined local authorities’ efforts to keep leaking oil from the tanker away from the pristine beaches of the island

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The Government of Mauritius declared a state of climate emergency as coastal areas face an ecological disaster after a 1,000-tonne oil spill.

The MV Wakashio tanker, believed to have been carrying 4,000 tonnes of fuel oil, ran aground on a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on 25th July.

Mitsui OSK Lines, the operator of the ship said: “The cause of the incident will be fully investigated and the owner/manager will continue to work closely with the authorities to determine the cause.

“MOL is fully aware of the incident and the regretful harm to the beautiful nature in Mauritius.”

The incident is visible even from space as satellite Sentinel2 sent images showing the full extent of the massive oil spill.

The Prime Minister of Mauritius has declared a ‘state of climate emergency’ and has asked for help. He wrote on Twitter: “The sinking of the Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius.

“Our country does not have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships, so I asked for help from France and Emmanuel Macron.”

The French President responded to this call saying the country will provide support to the Mauritian authorities by sending specialist teams and equipment on-site.

Japan also dispatched a relief team in the area to help the ongoing cleanup  -in the meantime, hundreds of volunteers have joined efforts to keep leaking oil from the tanker away from the beaches of the island.

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