A cargo ship in Mauritius which is leaking oil due to large cracks in the hull has raised concern as it may break in two as cracks reappear.
The cargo ship, MV Wakashio have been carrying 4,000 tonnes of fuel oil. It ran aground on a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on July 25.
Even though the weather was bad, PM Pravind Jugnauth said that on Monday 500 tonnes of fuel oil have been pumped out safely. However, PM warned that the country was preparing for the worst-case scenario.
With the help of a helicopter, fuel has been transferred to the shore and to another ship owned by the same Japanese firm, Nagashiki Shipping.
Along with the coast guard of Mauritius and police teams, volunteers have also been collecting field straws and filling sacks to make a barrier against the oil. Some locals were cleaning up the island’s beaches.
Despite the government ordering to the people to leave the cleaning in the hands of local authorities, locals were cleaning up the island.
“People have realised that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora,” environmental activist Ashok Subron told AFP news agency on Sunday.
It is thought that more than 1,000 tonnes of oil has been leaked in the island nation.
The cargo ship ran aground at Pointe d’Esny. It is a known sanctuary for rare wildlife. The oil spill posses a great threat to this sanctuary. The area also has wetlands which are designated as a site of international importance by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands.
The conservation director with the Mauritian Wildlife Organization, Vikash Tataya said that Mauritius has important populations of reptiles having unique genetic make-up, and these species are threatened.
Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of emergency on Friday and had even requested for help.