Mauritius is fighting to contain an oil spill that threatens “unprecedented” environmental damage.
Four hundred sea booms have been deployed after a Japanese tanker ran aground, threatening the coastline around the Blue Bay Marine Park, Iles aux Aigrettes and Ramsar areas on the south-east coast.
Cracks have now appeared in the hull of the MV Wakashio and the Mauritius government has appealed to “all private maritime operators” to help limit the spread of oil in the lagoon.
The island’s environment minister, Kavydass Ramano, said: “The country is facing an unprecedented environmental situation as the vessel has grounded in a very sensitive zone.”
The Guardian reports that more than 1,000 tonnes of oil have seeped from the ship, with 2,500 tonnes remaining on the vessel.
The ship ran aground on 25 July, but the government said on Friday only that equipment to pump the remaining fuel off was on its way from Greece and would arrive “soon”. Volunteers who are reported to have ignored a government order to leave efforts to local authorities have joined in the clean-up efforts.