Mauritius Communiquer - WAKASHIO OIL SPILL

August 10, 2020 - Early this evening, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, who chairs the crisis committee, confirmed that there has been no further spillage of hydrocarbon since yesterday. Weather conditions started to improve this morning and is forecasted to remain stable. This made it possible to resume the pumping of oil out of the tanks of the Wakashio. Removal of hydrocarbon by helicopters continued since yesterday. Today 500 additional metric tons were pumped out of the ship with 1,959 metric tons now remaining, of the original pay load of 3,800 metric tons. Mauritius Marine and Logistics company, Taylor Smith, is providing 5,000 metric tons of stowage capacity for the oil pumped out.

Today, an additional 225 metric tons of hydrocarbon were skimmed out of the south eastern lagoons affected by the oil spillage, taking the total to 375 metric tons. 90 tons of oil sludge were also removed from the lagoons. On the other hand, the Prime Minister reported that cracks on the ship’s hull have taken very serious proportions and it is now likely that the bulk carrier will break at some point. Rescue teams are now preparing to deploy large scale containment efforts, should there me more spillages. Additional equipment is expected to reach Mauritius shortly. In the meantime, pumping operations are maintained with an objective to empty the bulk carrier’s tanks in time to prevent more spillage. Booms have been deployed to limit movement of the oil slick further towards the eastern coast as the weather remains windy and the seas rough. Mauritian authorities have been providing volunteers with support and protective equipment.

The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund will provide financial support for community actions. Moreover, fishermen in the region are being offered employment with rescue teams in addition to the financial reliefs that are being provided by government. Schools will remain closed in the region until further notice. After thorough testing, the Ministry of Health declared that the quality of the air in localities of the South East and near schools are safe. The Prime Minister added that the Government has taken note of apologies made to Mauritius by owners of the bulk carrier Wakashio, in a public statement yesterday. He however stressed that they remain accountable for this precedented ecological disaster.