In an unfortunate event, a Japanese bulk-carrier ship MV Wakashio which was carrying fuel oil has split into two parts near Blue Bay Marine Park in south-east Mauritius, also designated as a Wetland of International Importance by Ramsar Convention. The vessel was carrying more than 4000 tonnes of crude oil. The ship has caused an oil spill of over 1000 tonnes in the Indian Ocean.
The oil spill is threatening the coastline of Mauritius and the marine life of Indian Ocean, endangering coral reefs, seagrasses in the shallow waters, mangroves, the fishes and other aquatic fauna. Animals species like Giant tortoises, endangered green turtle, and the critically endangered Pink Pigeon are equally endangered.
Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth declared the spill an “Environmental Emergency” on August 7. The government also sought international help to contain the damage. Locals are also actively involved in the cleanup process. Indian Navy is also part of the rescue mission.
According to International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution, 2001 (also known as BUNKER convention), the vessel owner is responsible for the damage caused due to oil spillage. As per latest update, Mauritian authorities have arrested the Indian captain of a Japanese-owned ship wrecked off the island nation’s coast, spewing tonnes of oil into pristine waters. A thorough probe will reveal the cause of ecological disaster.