On July 25, the MV Wakashio owned by Nagashiki Shipping struck a coral reef on the southeast coast of Mauritius. Since last week, an estimated 1,000 tons of oil has leaked from the Japanese bulk carrier, damaging some of Mauritius’ pristine beaches and seriously endangering marine life.
Activists have told Reuters that eels and starfish have been found dead and covered in oil. Crabs and seabirds are also in grave danger.
The ship still contains around 2,000 tons of oil that may still seep into the water. The Mauritian government declared an emergency on Friday on account of the spill, and is working with France to remove the oil as expediently as possible.
Despite the cleanup efforts, Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, told Reuters, “There is some anger and some criticism from the civil society that the government may have taken too much time to respond.”
The ship had been grounded for nearly two weeks before it started leaking oil and action was finally taken.
According to Mitsui OSK Lines, which operates the ship, “We will do our utmost towards resolving the situation quickly.” No specific details were provided, however.