Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of emergency on Friday, August 7 after MV Wakashio, an offshore ship, started leaking tonnes of oil into the Indian Ocean. By Kumar Shree

MV Wakashio, the ship which is owned by a Japanese company Nagashiki Shipping, was empty when it had collided with a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on July 25. While the crew members were safely evacuated, the vessel ever since began spilling 4,000 tonnes of oil on board into the India Ocean.

 

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The spillage has become a severe concern for the officials as it is polluting the surrounding waters. This incident is posing a threat to the coral reefs and thousands of sea organisms living in the vicinity.

While declaring the emergency on Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth appealed to France for help as Mauritius lacks the infrastructure to rescue stranded ships. Since the French island of Reunion sits close to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, France has readily pledged its support.

French President Emmanuel Macron also tweeted about the incident on Saturday. He wrote, “When biodiversity is at risk, there is an urgent need to act. France is there. Alongside the Mauritian people. You can count on our dear support @PKJugnauth. We are now deploying teams and equipment from Reunion Island.”

The ship was en route from China to Brazil when the incident took place, and it is currently lying at Pointe d’Esny.

 

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As reported by BBC, the ship’s owner, Nagashiki Shipping, said, “Due to 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.”

The environment ministry also made attempts to stabilise the ship and pump out the spilt oil, but rough seas maligned their efforts.

Meanwhile, the Mauritius police have opened an enquiry into the matter.

We sincerely hope for things to get better soon.

Related: Here’s What Would Happen If The Coral Reefs Disappear