Oil spills as Mauritius faces what the Solid Waste Management and Climate Change Minister, Kavy Ramano, is calling an environmental crisis after a ship carrying 200 tonnes of diesel and almost 4000 tonnes of bunker fuel was wrecked at Pointe d’Esny in late July.
The Minister of Fishing also chimed in on the ordeal, “We are in an environmental crisis situation. This is the first time that we are faced with a catastrophe of this kind and we are insufficiently equipped to handle this problem.”
The site of the grounding happened is listed under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance and near the marine park of Blue Bay.
Ecologists fear the bulk carrier could descend into further destruction causing an even greater leak that could potentially inflict catastrophic damage on the island’s coastline.
The Mauritian government has asked the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion for assistance and Nagashiki Shipping, which owns the shipwrecked vessel Wakashio, is monitoring the situation as all salvage efforts have been futile due to the rough sea conditions.
“Nagashiki Shipping takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and with partner agencies and contractors will make every effort to protect the marine environment and prevent further pollution. The cause of the incident will be fully investigated and the owner and manager will continue to work closely with the authorities to determine the cause,” it said in a statement.
Shipping websites say the Wakashio was built in 2007 with a gross weight of 101,000 tonnes, able to carry 203,000 tonnes and a length of 299.95 metres (984 feet).
Mauritius boasts some of the finest coral reefs in the world and relies heavily on its seas for its food and tourism industries.