Mauritius PM says country must prepare for ‘worst case scenario’ after oil leak from damaged ship
NAIROBI (KENYA) – Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said late on Monday that a Japanese vessel, which ran aground on a reef off the country’s coast, has now stopped leaking oil into the ocean. But he said the country must prepare for “a worst case scenario”.
Stoking fears of an ecological disaster, conservationists have started spotting dead fish and seabirds covered in oil despite the local cleanup operation using booms made from human hair and leaves.
The prime minister said the vessel, the MV Wakashio, still had close to 2,000 tonnes of oil in two 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.
“We should prepare for a worst case scenario. It is clear that at some point the ship will fall apart,” he added.
“We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued,” said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation.
Although the Blue Bay Marine Park, which is renowned for its corals and fish species, has so far been unscathed. But a lagoon containing an island nature reserve, the Ile Aux Aigrettes, is already covered in oil, he said.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field