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Mauritius – Wakashio Oil Spill Daily Updates

August 14, 2020 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

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 unprecedented ecological disaster.

August 09, 2020 – Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth stated that the hydrocarbon leak stopped after 500 metric tons of heavy oil were pumped out of the Wakashio’s breached tank. Measures are being taken to secure the tank’s remaining 800 metric tons of oil. 525 metric tons have already been transferred to a more secure location.

Of the oil already spilled in the lagoons, 170 metric tons as well at 80 metric tons of waste sludge were skimmed as at Sunday afternoon.

The bulk carrier was transporting a total of 3,500 metric tons of heavy oil in all its tanks, of which 2,500 metric tons remain on board. Weather conditions deteriorated on Sunday interrupting pumping operations. It will only be possible to resume pumping when weather conditions improve, which is forecasted to be in the evening of Monday, 10 August.

According to the Salvage Master, the conditions of the ship are deteriorating with hull cracks extending and new cracks appearing. There is now a real risk of the ship breaking in two. Tugs have already been positioned to take a part of the ship to high seas, should the need arise.

As regards skimming of the spillage, 4 skimmers are currently in operation, 1 more is expected to arrive from Rodrigues tomorrow (Monday 10 August), 4 more from Reunion Island and 2 are expected from Greece.

The Prime Minister thanked all countries who are responding favorably to Mauritius’s calls for help. He also thanked the teams from government, from the private sector, NGOs as well as the local community for their committed actions. He insisted that the safety of people should be a topmost priority and urged that volunteers wear protective equipment before taking part in cleaning operation.

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