The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has announced a “state of environmental emergency” after a Japanese-owned bulk carrier ran aground offshore that carried nearly four thousand tons of fuel oil and two hundred tons of diesel on board, days ago began spilling.
The prime minister, Pravind Jugnauth, declared late on Friday as satellite images showed a dark streamlined spreading in the turquoise waters closeby environmental areas that the government addresses as “very sensitive”.
The ship, in the Indian Ocean, began spilling oil into the country’s prominent blue lagoons this week, provoking an environmental crisis in a small island nation that relies on its waters for fishing and tourism.
Sudheer Maudhoo, the fishing minister of Mauritius said, “This is the first time that we are faced with a catastrophe of this kind and we are insufficiently equipped to handle this problem”.
After the cracks in the hull of the Wakashio, a Japanese-owned carrier was detected, a rescue team that had been working on the ship was removed, Kavy Romano, the environment minister told reporters on Thursday. Around 400 sea booms have been disposed of to contain the spill.
The country’s minister, after touring the disaster site, has expressed fears the crisis could worsen with a bad weather forecast and has asked France for help in tackling the disaster.
On Saturday, the French embassy in Mauritius said a military aircraft from closeby French Indian Ocean island of Reunion would make rotations over the affected area with the pollution control equipment. Also, the experts would be aboard.
Though, 20 crew members were rescued safely from the ship when it ran aground on July 25.