2020 has been a bane to the human race and the nightmare seems to continue with the compass directing towards the environment now. Johannesburg is currently experiencing its worst environmental disaster. According to the latest reports, on Tuesday, workers pumped tons of fuel from a Japanese bulk carrier ship which was grounded in the shallow waters of Mauritius as a step to prevent a renewed oil spill from further deteriorating the island’s eastern lagoons and the shore.
MV Wakashio, the Japanese ship ran aground on a coral reef for about a mile off Mauritius on July 25, and about two weeks later due to the continued pounding by the heavy surf caused the vessels to crack. It is estimated that 1000 tons of oil which are about a quarter of the ship’s total cargo has soiled over the Indian Ocean, hence polluting the island’s once clear coastline.
Even though the oil leak stopped, the ship’s hull continued to crack that further evoked fear that the remaining fuel might gush into the sea.
According to a statement released by Wakashio’s owner, Nagashiki Shipping on Tuesday, about 1000 tons of the fuel had been pumped out of the stranded ship into various small tankers nearby. About 1800 tons of fuel remained on the ship by midday and with continuing efforts, some experts stated that all the fuel could be emptied from the ship before it totally breaks up.
An environmental consultant and also a former Member of Parliament, Sunil Dowarkasing said that the situation is very tight and the pumping is continuing non-stop. He further added that of all the oil can be successfully removed from the ship then that would prevent any further increase in the destruction which is already marked as an environmental disaster.
From a statement released by the ship’s owner, it is concluded that the cracks inside the ship’s hull had expanded and the situation is being continuously monitored by a professional team of salvors. It is also being said that as the ship is unable to navigate by itself, a tow connection has been set up between a tug and the Wakashio, to ensure that the vessel doesn’t drift.
Out of the 1000 tons of oil that seeped from the ship, about 460 tons have already been scooped out of the ocean read the statement.
Mauritius Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth said that his government is working with the ship’s owners to help to prevent any further spillage. He also thanked the thousands of volunteers who are continually working to stop the spread of the oil and have started cleaning the shores.
It is confirmed that a team of French experts is assisting the efforts. As a gesture to lend help, France on Friday sent a navy ship, military aircraft, and technical advisers after Mauritius appealed for international help.
Dowarkasing pointed that he ship had run aground on July 25 but the work to remove the excel oil was started only last week when the hull cracked and started emptying the fuel into the sea.
As it goes that Jugnauth’s government is under pressure to explain the reason as to why did it take so long and why did not the government initiate immediate action to avert the environmental disaster.
Jugnauth has further declared that the oil spill is a natural emergency but some residents say that he acted too late to address the issue. The opposition and the activists have called for the resignation of the environment and fisheries ministers.
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