Mauritius Declares Environmental Emergency After Shipwreck Causes Massive Oil Spill
On 9th August 2020
A state of environmental emergency has been declared in Mauritius after a massive oil spill in the Indian Ocean. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said the spillage 'represents a danger' to Mauritians and is calling on France to help out. France in response has promised to provide full support for the emergency cause, as Macron has tweeted to say: "When biodiversity is in peril, it is urgent to act. France is there. Alongside the people of Mauritius. You can count on our support, dear Jugnauth."
Environmental emergency has been declared in Mauritius after a tanker spill has caused a massive oil spill in the Indian ocean. The ship that was reportedly carrying almost 4,000 tons of fuel, ran aground, and sustained a cracked hull. Images released show slick dark oil covering the ocean surface like a blanket.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said the spillage 'represents a danger' to Mauritians and is calling on France to help out.
He said: "Our country doesn't have the skills and expertise to re-float stranded ships, so I asked for help from France and Emmanuel Macron.
"Bad weather has made it impossible to act, and I worry what could happen on Sunday when the weather deteriorates."
In response, Macron has tweeted to say: "When biodiversity is in peril, it is urgent to act.
"France is there. Alongside the people of Mauritius. You can count on our support, dear Jugnauth."
Mauritius' environmental minister has declared the country to be in 'environmental crises.' Reportedly earlier efforts by the environmental ministry to stabilize the broken ship to pump out the oil hadn't work due to rough seas.
According to Sky News, the boat had been heading from China to Brazil. The ship, which is thought to be Japanese but is registered in Panama, was empty when it ran aground.
In a statement seen by the BBC, the firm which owns the ship, Nagashiki Shipping, said: "Due to the bad weather and constant pounding over the past few days, the starboard side bunker tank of the vessel has been breached and an amount of fuel oil has escaped into the sea."
It continued: "Oil prevention measures are in place and an oil boom has been deployed around the vessel," before adding that it 'takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and will take every effort with partner agencies and contractors to protect the marine environment and prevent further pollution'.
Greenpeace Africa's climate and energy manager Happy Khambule said in a statement: "Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d'Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius' economy, food security, and health."
Police have also opened an inquiry into the case of the oil spill.