On July 25th a Japanese oil tanker called MV Wakashio leaked near Mauritius and spilled 1000 tons of crude oil.
The ship went off course and ran aground on a coral reef. It leaked between two marine eco systems which are rich in biodiversity. The leaking oil endangers several rare fish species because of the damaged coral reef. Many nature conservation organizations like Greenpeace are criticizing the procedure of the government to pump out the rest of the remaining oil.
Rough sea and bad weather have made it difficult to remove the oil. Nevertheless it was possible to pump out 3000 tons of fuel oil. The MV Wakashio has been split in half, the bow was being washed away by the sea and the other half remains stranded on the reef. France and India support Japan with financial aid to clean up the sea. Volunteers also helped by collecting straw from fields, filling sacks to make barriers against the oil and cleaning up the beaches.
Nobody knows why the ship went off course but rumors came up that the crew was having a birthday party on board and they did not pay attention. The captain and his deputy captain got arrested because of endangering safe navigation. They told the court that they were sailing along the coast line to get a phone signal. Removing the ship will take months and the damage could affect Mauritius economically and ecologically for decades.
Chiara Buchinger and Franka Hummel, Q12
Pictures byBy Z thomas – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82767549 and by imo.un – https://www.flickr.com/photos/62937028@N02/50236896003/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93781167