Mauritius declares environmental emergency after oil spill

The island of Mauritius declared an environmental emergency late Friday over an oil spill caused by a Japanese-owned ship that was stranded off the coast days ago.

The MV Wakashio, owned by Japanese companies Okiyo Maritime Corporation and Nagashiki Shipping Co. Ltd., was on its way from Brazil from Singapore carrying close to 4,000 tons of fuel when it ran aground on July 25.

The oil spill “represents a danger” for the nearly 1.3 million residents of Mauritius, after cracks have appeared in the ship’s hull.

The country’s prime minister Pravind Jugnauth has appealed help from France saying that the country was not equipped with the skills and expertise required to refloat stranded ships.

Close to 400 sea booms have been deployed to control the spill. The police is investigating the causes which include possible negligence according to a government statement.

The international environmental group Greenpeace Africa sad that the more diesel and oil leaks into the water the greater the threat of a catastrophic effect on Mauritius.

Thousands of species which are found 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, the organisation highlighted.

A representative for Nagashiki Shipping, Yoshinori Fukushima, said the company has “put up a fence and started recovering the oil,” and that the cause of the accident is being investigated.