Photos: Tanker oil spill catastrophe in Mauritius

Thousands of tons of oil have spilled creating an environmental disaster.

August 25, 2020, 10:27 AM

The MV Wakashio, a Japanese-owned ship, ran aground on a coral reef at Pointe d'Esny near Mauritius in late July. After days of being pounded by strong waves, the ship broke apart. On Aug. 6, it started leaking oil creating an environmental catastrophe.

PHOTO: The MV Wakashio bulk carrier broken into two parts near Blue Bay Marine Park, Mauritius, Aug. 16, 2020.
The MV Wakashio bulk carrier broken into two parts near Blue Bay Marine Park, Mauritius, Aug. 16, 2020.
Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

It was a a race against the clock to pump fuel off the bulk carrier before it broke in two. The ship spilled more than 1,000 tons of its cargo and 4,000 tons of fuel in the waters of Mahebourg Lagoon, one of the island’s most pristine coastal areas, according to The Associated Press.

PHOTO: The MV Wakashio lies in the Indian Ocean near Blue bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius, Aug. 11, 2020.
The MV Wakashio lies in the Indian Ocean near Blue bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius, Aug. 11, 2020.
L'Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images

Environmental groups have warned that the damage to the coral reefs could be irreversible. Greenpeace Africa stated that thousands of species around Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg have been put at risk along with the island’s economy, food and security.

PHOTO: Oil from the split MV Wakashio bulk carrier is carried towards the shore near Blue Bay Marine Park, Mauritius, Aug. 16. 2020.
Oil from the split MV Wakashio bulk carrier is carried towards the shore near Blue Bay Marine Park, Mauritius, Aug. 16. 2020.
Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of volunteers responded to the government’s declaration of an environmental emergency to clean up the oil and minimize the damage. People created makeshift oil barriers with fabric stuffed with sugar cane leaves, human hair and empty plastic bottles.

Two tugboats towed the larger, forward section of the vessel some 15 kilometers (nine miles) out into the open ocean, where it was sunk to a depth of 3,180 meters.

PHOTO: Volunteers make absorbent barriers of straw stuffed into fabric sacks to contain oil from the MV Wakashio, a Japanese owned Panama-flagged bulk carrier ship, Aug. 7, 2020.
Volunteers make absorbent barriers of straw stuffed into fabric sacks to contain oil from the MV Wakashio, a Japanese owned Panama-flagged bulk carrier ship, Aug. 7, 2020.
Laura Morosoli/EPA via Shutterstock
PHOTO: Volunteers make oil barriers to absorb leaked oil from the MV Wakashio bulk carrier that had run aground off Mahebourg, Mauritius, Aug. 14, 2020.
Volunteers make oil barriers to absorb leaked oil from the MV Wakashio bulk carrier that had run aground off Mahebourg, Mauritius, Aug. 14, 2020.
Sumeet Mudhoo/L'Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images
PHOTO: People scoop leaked oil from the MV Wakashio in southeast Mauritius, Aug. 9, 2020.
People scoop leaked oil from the MV Wakashio in southeast Mauritius, Aug. 9, 2020.
Daren Mauree/L'Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images
PHOTO: Volunteers take part in the oil spill clean up operation in Mahebourg, Mauritius, Aug. 12, 2020.
Volunteers take part in the oil spill clean up operation in Mahebourg, Mauritius, Aug. 12, 2020.
Beekash Roopun/AP
PHOTO: The front section of the MV Wakashio lies in the Indian Ocean after breaking into two parts, near Blue Bay Marine Park, off the coast of south-east Mauritius, Aug. 17, 2020.
The front section of the MV Wakashio lies in the Indian Ocean after breaking into two parts, near Blue Bay Marine Park, off the coast of south-east Mauritius, Aug. 17, 2020.
Daren Mauree/L'Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images
PHOTO: Leaked oil from MV Wakashio is pushed by currents towards the Grand Port bay off the coast of south-east Mauritius, Aug. 8, 2020.
Leaked oil from MV Wakashio is pushed by currents towards the Grand Port bay off the coast of south-east Mauritius, Aug. 8, 2020.
AFP via Getty Images
PHOTO: A man scoops leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of south-east Mauritius on Aug. 8, 2020.
A man scoops leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of south-east Mauritius on Aug. 8, 2020.
Jean Aurelio Prudence/L'Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images
PHOTO: Salvage crews successfully pumped all the fuel from the tanks of the MV Wakashio, the prime minister said August 12, 2020, preventing further ecological disaster.
Salvage crews successfully pumped all the fuel from the tanks of the MV Wakashio, the prime minister said August 12, 2020, preventing further ecological disaster.
Maxar Tech/AFP via Getty Images
PHOTO: A volunteers from the Mahebourg village helps retrieve hand made oil containment booms constructed by community members from human hair, straw and fabric, Aug. 17, 2020.
A volunteers from the Mahebourg village helps retrieve hand made oil containment booms constructed by community members from human hair, straw and fabric in a battle to limit the damage from the MV Wakashio oil spill off the southeast coast of Mauritius, Aug. 17, 2020.
Laura Morosoli/EPA via Shutterstock
PHOTO: Debris and oil in Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, Aug. 9, 2020.
Debris and oil in Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, Aug. 9, 2020.
Sophie Seneque/AP
PHOTO: Oil leaked from MV Wakashio shows iridescently on the surface of the water off the coast of Mauritius, Aug. 15, 2020. A fresh streak of oil spilled on Aug. 14.
Oil leaked from MV Wakashio shows iridescently on the surface of the water off the coast of Mauritius, Aug. 15, 2020. A fresh streak of oil spilled on Aug. 14.
Fabien Dubessay/AFP via Getty Images
PHOTO: The MV Wakashio sinks some 15 kilometers (nine miles) in the open ocean to a depth of 3,180 meters, Aug. 24, 2020.
The MV Wakashio sinks some 15 kilometers (nine miles) in the open ocean to a depth of 3,180 meters, Aug. 24, 2020.
-/Mauritius Police Press Office/AF
PHOTO: The MV Wakashio, a Japanese-owned ship which ran aground causing a devastating oil spill, sinks in the open water near Mauritius, Aug. 24, 2020.
The MV Wakashio, a Japanese-owned ship which ran aground causing a devastating oil spill, sinks in the open water near Mauritius, Aug. 24, 2020. Last week, two tugboats began towing the larger, forward section of the vessel some 15 kilometers (nine miles) out into the open ocean, where it has been sunk to a depth of 3,180 meters.
Mauritius Police Press Office/AFP via Getty Images

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