Photos show the oil spill in Mauritius that's leaking 4,000 tons of fuel into the pristine, azure waters of the Indian Ocean

insider@insider.com (Taylor Ardrey)
·7 min read
oil spill 7
This aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil and the vessel MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius.
  • The 980-foot MV Wakashio, a Japanese ship with a Panamanian flag, ran aground off the coast of Mauritius and started leaking oil into the Indian ocean.

  • Local officials, activists, and residents are worried that it may be "too late" to contain the spill.

  • Here's a look at the damage the oil has caused in the island nation so far.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A major attempt to protect Mauritius and the Indian Ocean from the 980-foot MV Wakashio oil spill is underway.

The ship ran aground off the coast on July 25 carrying 4,000 tons of oil. The fuel started to leak last week when the ship's hull cracked, CBS News reported, causing major damage to the island known for its coral reefs and marine wildlife.

The Associated Press reported that more than 1,000 tons of fuel had already leaked into the sea, and with the high winds and waves, environmentalists, residents, and government officials worry the ship could split and unleash the remaining oil.

Here's a look at the damage the oil has caused in Mauritius so far.

The MV Wakashio ran aground off the coast of Mauritius on its way to Brazil from China on July 25.

oil spill 5
This photo provided by the French Defense Ministry shows oil leaking from the MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier ship that recently ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius,, Sunday Aug. 9, 2020.

Sources: Insider, Associated Press

Government officials and environmentalists are actively working to stop 4,000 tons of fuel from leaking from the ship.

A satellite image shows the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio and its oil spill after it ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius, August 7, 2020. Satellite image ?2020 Maxar Technologies/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MUST NOT OBSCURE WATERMARK
A satellite image shows the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio and its oil spill after it ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius, August 7, 2020.

Sources: Insider, Associated Press

Aerial and satellite images showed the size of the spill tainting the blue waters of the Indian Ocean.

A satellite image shows MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier ship that ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius, August 1, 2020. Picture taken August 1, 2020. Satellite image ?2020 Maxar Technologies/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MUST NOT OBSCURE WATERMARK
A satellite image shows MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier ship that ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius, August 1, 2020.

The oil leaking into the ocean near Mauritius could have devastating effects on the environment. The island issued a "state of environmental emergency" on August 7.

oil spill 7
This aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil and the vessel MV Wakashio (Back), belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius.

Sources: Business Insider, Associated Press

France sent assistance from nearby island Reunion with military crafts and booms to help contain the oil. Japan has also said it will send a six-member team to help with relief efforts.

oil spill 6
This aerial view taken on August 6, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius.

Sources: BBC, Associated Press, AFP, Business Insider

Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne told the Associated Press that they are "expecting the worst" and that the ship could potentially break in half in two days.

oil spill 3
This aerial view taken on August 6, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil and the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius.

Source: The Associated Press

"So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton," Gardenne told the AP.

oil spill main
This general view taken on August 7, 2020, shows the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius.

Source: The Associated Press

Oceanographer and environmental engineer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo told AFP that it may already be "too late" to contain the leaking tanker. "If the ship breaks in two, the situation will be out of control," he said.

oil spill 11.JPG
A still image taken from a drone video shows an oil spill after the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 8, 2020.

Sources: AlJazeera, AFP

"We're talking about a major disaster that is progressing and it's getting more complicated hour by hour," Kauppaymuthoo told AFP.

oil spill 8
This photo taken and provided by Sophie Seneque, shows debris in Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, Sunday Aug. 9, 2020, after it leaked from the MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier ship that recently ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius.

Source: AlJazeera

The company that runs the vessel, Nagashiki Shipping Co., said in a statement on August 7: "Due to the bad weather and constant pounding over the past few days, the starboard side bunker tank of the vessel has been breached and an amount of fuel oil has escaped into the sea. Oil prevention measures are in place and an oil boom has been deployed around the vessel."

oil spill 4
This photograph taken on August 7, 2020, shows workers (L) as they look from a ship towards the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius on August 7, 2020.

Source: Business Insider, MOL

In a rapid effort to contain the oil, volunteers gathered to create boom barriers out of straw, hair, and sugarcane leaves.

volunteers .JPG
Volunteers hold a floating boom of hair and sugarcane leaves near the leaked oil from the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles.

Source: Associated Press, BBC,

Despite local official orders, volunteers drenched in oil "have taken matters into their own hands" to try and contain the leak.

oil spill1
A man scoops leaked oil from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius on August 8, 2020.

Source: Associated Press, AlJazeera

Mahebourg environmental activist Ashok Subron told the AFP that thousands of volunteers "are coming together" and are "not listening to the government anymore."

oil spill 2
People scoop leaked oil from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground and caused oil leakage near Blue bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius on August 9, 2020.

Source: Aljazeera

On Monday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said more than 550 tons of oil had been pumped out the water.

oil spill 10
This photo taken and provided by Sophie Seneque, shows a boom, a temporary floating barrier used to contain the oil spill in Mahebourg Waterfront, Mauritius, Saturday Aug. 8, 2020, after it leaked from the MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier ship that recently ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius.

Source: BBC

Local police reportedly obtained a search warrant and are conducting an investigation with the help of the ship's captain.

oil spill 12.JPG
A still image taken from a drone video shows an oil spill after the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 8, 2020.

Source: BBC

Read the original article on Insider