A disaster-stricken Japanese tanker split on Saturday and spilled several tons of oil into the Indian Ocean off the island nation of Mauritius, spreading the remaining fuel to the area.
The Mauritius National Crisis Committee shared photos on social media of the MV Wakashio, saying the boat “split in two pieces” with tug boats “already at work.”
“Booms had been placed already around the ship and the skimmer boat is also present as precautionary measures,” the group said.
Wakashio crashed into the reef on July 25, and after several days of violent impact, its hull began to rupture, and finally spitting this weekend.
After staying in the water, about 1,000 tons of fuel began to leak on August 6.
Officials said the plan for the tugboat to land has been “implemented” and the clean-up work is in progress.
When the ship broke, the oil barrier was in place, and an oil skimmer was nearby.
In the past week, most of the remaining 3,000 tons of fuel have been evacuated from the ship because environmental groups have warned that the damage to coral reefs and once pristine coastal areas is irreversible.
In a statement, the committee said: “Discussions were held during the morning of August 15, 2020, with foreign experts with regards to the action plan for the cleaning of affected sites and to the subsequent rehabilitation of the marine and coastal ecosystem of the region.”
The ship’s leak last month prompted the declaration of an environmental emergency, and the Mauritian government is currently under pressure to explain why it did not take immediate action to empty the ship’s fuel.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth blamed bad weather for bad weather.
The Mauritian government is seeking compensation from the shipowner Changshi Shipping.
The company has said that “residual” amounts of fuel remained on the ship after pumping. It is also investigating why the ship went off course.