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Mauritius, a paradise with crystal clear waters threatened by an oil spill

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Rescue operations are continuing around the bulk carrier Wakashio, which has run aground since July 25 on the south-eastern coast of Mauritius. A French navy ship, supported by air forces, has been trying since Saturday to contain the oil slicks escaping from the ship. Back in pictures on a new maritime pollution.

Mauritius police plan to approach Sunday August 9 the bulk carrier Wakashio, grounded since July 25 on the south-east coast of the island, in order to study the best way to evacuate its fuel cargo and avoid major pollution. Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth for his part called a crisis meeting of the authorities concerned and thanked France for its help.

A French Navy vessel, Le Champlain, left for Mauritius on Saturday, while an Air Force plane was scheduled to make two rotations over the spill site, both equipped with specialized pollution control equipment and having experts on board. “We are now deploying teams and equipment from Reunion,” tweeted the French president, noting that “when biodiversity is in danger, there is an urgent need to act. France is there. Alongside the people Mauritian “.

The Wakashio, owned by a Japanese company but flying the Panamanian flag, was carrying 3,800 tonnes of heavy oil and 200 tonnes of diesel when it struck a reef at Pointe d’Esny at the end of July.

Mauritian authorities announced Thursday that oil was leaking from the cracked hull of the bulk carrier.

Aerial images taken in recent days already show the scale of the disaster: huge black slicks in the azure sea are moving towards the lagoons, coral reefs and the idyllic white sand beaches that have made Mauritius a pearl. of green tourism. Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend on these waters for food and ecotourism, in an area which has the most beautiful coral reefs in the world and is a sanctuary for rare and endemic fauna, as well as wetlands. unique classified. Environmentalists fear that the boat will eventually break and cause colossal damage at sea and on the coastline.

The Mauritian authorities announced on August 6 that oil was leaking from a bulk carrier stranded on a reef since the end of July on the south-eastern coast of the island, raising fears of an ecological disaster. The boat, owned by a Japanese shipowner but flying the Panamanian flag, was traveling empty but was carrying 200 tons of diesel and 3,800 tons of heavy oil, according to the local press. Its crew was evacuated. It ran aground on Esny Point, a Ramsar classified wetland like the nearby Blue Bay Marine Park and also threatened.
The Mauritian authorities announced on August 6 that oil was leaking from a bulk carrier stranded on a reef since the end of July on the south-eastern coast of the island, raising fears of an ecological disaster. The boat, owned by a Japanese shipowner but flying the Panamanian flag, was traveling empty but was carrying 200 tons of diesel and 3,800 tons of heavy oil, according to the local press. Its crew was evacuated. It ran aground on Esny Point, a Ramsar classified wetland like the nearby Blue Bay Marine Park and also threatened. © Georges de La Tremoille, AP
The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25, but it was not until several days before the Mauritian authorities noticed that tons of oil
The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground on July 25, but it was not until several days before the Mauritian authorities noticed that tons of oil © AFP
Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, announced on Twitter on Saturday that he had asked for help from France.
Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, announced on Twitter on Saturday that he had asked for help from France. “The sinking of the #Wakashio represents a danger for Mauritius. Our country does not have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships, so I asked for help from #France to @EmmanuelMacron, “he wrote.
Emmanuel Macron replied on Twitter that he had mobilized resources on the island of Reunion, about 200 kilometers away. “When biodiversity is in danger, it is urgent to act. France is there. Alongside the people of Mauritius. (…) We are now deploying teams and equipment from Reunion.
© Daren Mauree, AFP
On the coast, dozens of volunteers, like this man, tried to recover oil slicks with makeshift means and to erect floating dams, while others, on the shore, braided hemp barriers and fabric in order to contain the slick of fuel that escapes from the ship.
On the coast, dozens of volunteers, like this man, tried to recover oil slicks with makeshift means and to erect floating dams, while others, on the shore, braided hemp barriers and fabric in order to contain the slick of fuel that escapes from the ship. © Jean-Aurelio Prudence, L’Express Maurice, AFP
On Saturday August 8, pending a police intervention due to board the stranded ship on Sunday in order to study the best way to evacuate it, cleaning teams were deployed on the coast to protect it from the fuel.
On Saturday August 8, pending a police intervention due to board the stranded ship on Sunday in order to study the best way to evacuate it, cleaning teams were deployed on the coast to protect it from the fuel. © Reuben Pillay, Reuters
As of Saturday, a tactical military transport aircraft (Casa CN-235) carrying equipment and pollution control equipment made two rotations to Mauritius from Reunion. Coastal dams as well as additional equipment (including several types of recuperators as well as absorbent and offshore dams) were provided to Mauritians. By Sunday, we could see the coastal dams deployed on the coast.
As of Saturday, a tactical military transport aircraft (Casa CN-235) carrying equipment and pollution control equipment made two rotations to Mauritius from Reunion. Coastal dams as well as additional equipment (including several types of recuperators as well as absorbent and offshore dams) were provided to Mauritians. By Sunday, we could see the coastal dams deployed on the coast. AP

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