- August 12, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
A Japanese ship that ran aground on a reef off Mauritius two weeks ago has now stopped leaking oil into the Indian Ocean but the island nation must still prepare for “a worst case scenario”, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said late on Monday.
Conservationists said they were starting to find dead fish as well as sea-birds covered in oil, increasing fears of an ecological catastrophe despite a massive local clean-up operation that includes making floating booms from leaves and human hair.
Jugnauth said the leak from a damaged oil tank on board the stricken vessel, the MV Wakashio, had stopped but that it still had 2 000 tonnes of oil in two other, undamaged tanks.
“The salvage team has observed several cracks in the ship hull, which means that we are facing a very serious situation,” Jugnauth said in a televised speech, parts of which were made available to Reuters by his office.
“We should prepare for a worst case scenario. It is clear that at some point the ship will fall apart.”
Mauritius has declared a state of emergency and former colonial ruler France has sent aid in what environmental group Greenpeace said could be a major ecological crisis. Japan has also sent help. Tourism is a major contributor to the Mauritius economy, generating 63 billion rupees (US$1.6 billion) last year. — Reuters.