The cargo ship that ran aground off Mauritius is apparently no longer losing any oil. But the danger to the environment has not yet been averted. The ship could break apart – and again lose large amounts of fuel.
The cargo ship “Wakashio”, which wrecked off the island of Mauritius, threatens to break up. “The process is already well advanced, the freighter does not have much time ahead of it,” said a scientist involved in the rescue effort of the AFP news agency.
Mauritius’ Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced that the ship was no longer losing any oil. Nevertheless, the island state still has to prepare for a “worst-case scenario”. According to Jugnauth, the rescue team found several cracks in the hull. It is clear that the ship will fall apart at some point, the Reuters news agency quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The “Wakashio” was more than two weeks ago ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius for an unexplained cause. Then on Thursday one of the tanks lost fuel. According to the operator, around a thousand tons of oil had recently leaked, a total of around 4,000 tons in the ship. According to Prime Minister Jugnauth, there are still 2,500 tons on board the “Wakashio”.
Emergency forces recently had oil by helicopter, among other things pumped out of the ship and brought ashore. The work had to be stopped in the meantime due to strong winds and rough seas.
According to Reuters, environmentalists have already collected dead fish and seabirds stuck with oil on the island’s beaches. Organizations fear that the shipwreck could have devastating effects on marine ecology. The scene of the accident is near two nature reserves. It was possibly “one of the worst ecological crises this small island nation has ever experienced,” said Greenpeace.
The island nation in the Indian Ocean is famous for its picturesque beaches. It is highly dependent on its coastal areas – not only because of the fishing, but also because the coral reefs are among the most beautiful in the world and attract many tourists.