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When the Japanese-owned ship MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the coast of Mauritius back on July 25, it caused a massive oil spill in the area.
Now, Pravind Jugnauth, the prime minister of Mauritius, has announced that almost all of the remaining fuel oil in the ship has been pumped out.
This announcement is particularly good new because there were fears that the ship would break up before all the oil it contained could be retrieved. It's believed that the MV Wakashio was carrying approximately 4,000 tonnes of fuel oil when ran aground at Pointe d'Esny, a known sanctuary for rare wildlife, hitting one of the coral reefs that tourists flock to Mauritius every year to see. Or did, before Covid-19.
Mr Jugnauth said more than 3,000 of the 4,000 tonnes of oil from the ship's fuel reservoirs had been pumped out, but that a small amount remained onboard.
The fuel has now been transferred to shore by helicopter and to another ship owned by the same Japanese firm, Nagashiki Shipping. According to the BBC, to help clear up the spill, France has sent a military aircraft equipped with pollution-control equipment from Réunion, a nearby French department in the Indian Ocean, while Japan has sent a six-member team to assist the French clean-up efforts.
The Mauritius coast guard and several police units have also been deployed to the site in the south-east of the island. Shiva Cooten, a spokesperson for the police, said that the teams 'still have work to do but the situation is all under control', while police chief Khemraj Servansing said that cracks in the ship 'keep increasing'.
"It is difficult to say when it will break," he said, "but we have a boom deployment plan with the French Navy helping and we have made provisions for high sea booms."
Greenpeace Africa has warned that 'thousands' of animal species were 'at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius' economy, food security and health'.
If you would like to help, you can donate to money to the Save Mauritius Reef charity here.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/gavishbarosee
Topics: World News
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