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Oil Spilling from Japanese Ship Spells Environmental Disaster for Mauritius

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

The small island of Mauritius, off the coast of Africa, has declared a state of emergency

and is seeking compensation after a Japanese tanker, the MV Wakashio, hit a reef and wildlife sanctuary known as Pointe d'Esny on July 25. Two weeks later, the 300-meter ship began spilling oil into the waters around the island, spilling close to 1,000 tonnes of oil that is now wreaking havoc on other nearby islands. According to Nagashiki Shipping, which charters the WV Wakashio, more than half of about 1,000 tons of fuel that leaked from the MV Wakashio has yet to be removed from the sea and coast, and crews are working to remove more than 1,500 tons that remain on the ship.

The consequences of this spill are dangerous and far-reaching. Since the beginning of the spill, activists and clean-up crews have reported dead wildlife covered in oil, from birds, eels, crabs, and fish. According to Reuters, “The spill has set back two decades of restoring the natural wildlife and plants in the lagoon [...],” and as the oil spreads in the country’s pristine water, “The fragmentation of the oil in the sea is expected to damage corals when the heavier particles in the oil settle on them [...].” In short, we are going to see the effects of this oil spill for decades to come, and activists have raised their grievances that President Kumar Jugnauth’s administration hasn’t done enough to stop the oil’s spread. In a televised briefing on August 11th, Jugnauth said the leak has stopped, but newly formed cracks on the ship’s hull could break the ship in two and spill more oil.


Oliver Laczko is a high school junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, FL.

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