A distressed Japanese tanker that dumped tons of oil in the Indian Ocean off Mauritius broke up on Saturday, spilling the remaining fuel in the region.
The Mauritius National Crisis Committee shared photos on social media from MV Wakashio, saying the boat “split in two” with tugs “already at work”.
“Arrows had already been placed around the ship and the skimmer boat is also present as a precaution,” said the group.
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The Wakashio struck a reef on July 25 and her hull began to crack after days of pounding waves before finally spitting out over the weekend.
After being stranded in the water, some 1,000 tons of fuel began to leak on August 6.
Officials said a plan to tow the ship ashore had been “implemented” and the clean-up operation was underway, Sky News reported.
Oil barriers were in place and a skimmer was nearby when the vessel burst.
Most of the remaining 3,000 tons of fuel had been pumped from the ship last week, as environmental groups warned that damage to coral reefs and once pristine coastal areas could be irreversible.
In a statement, the committee said: “Discussions took place on the morning of August 15, 2020, with foreign experts regarding the action plan for the clean-up of the affected sites and the subsequent rehabilitation of the ecosystem. marine and coastal area. . ”
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The leak of the ship last month prompted the declaration of a state of environmental emergency, with the Mauritian government now under pressure to explain why immediate action was not taken to drain the ship of its fuel.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth blamed the bad weather for the slow response.
The Mauritian government is demanding compensation from the owner, Nagashiki Shipping.
The company said “residual” amounts of fuel remained on the vessel after the pumping. He is also investigating why the ship derailed.
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The ship was supposed to stay at least 10 miles from shore.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.