Volunteers Struggle to Contain An Oil Spill Threatening Mauritius White Sand Beaches

A grounded bulk carrier that has leaked oil into the Indian Ocean and blackened the coast of Mauritius is cracking more and risks breaking apart entirely, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said.

“Based on reports from the salvage master and his expert team, there are several cracks which continued to develop. These cracks unfortunately mean that there is a major risk that the carrier breaks up into two,” Jugnauth told reporters in a live broadcast by Port Louis-based defimedia.info news website.

“The finding is more serious,” he said. “The risk is bigger.”

The MV Wakashio, en route to Brazil from China, was carrying 3,894 metric tons of low-sulfur fuel oil, 207 tons of diesel and 90 tons of lubricant oil when it went aground off the southeastern coast of Mauritius. Oil spillage, which started last Thursday, has now been stopped. There are still about 2,500 tons of fuel still on board, Jugnauth said.

Bad weather due to last until 7 p.m. Monday will force a temporary halt to pumping the fuel from the ship.

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