Video posted today by Le Mauricien newspaper showed continuing efforts by Mauritians — many of them volunteers — to clean up oil spilled from the Capesize bulker Wakashio, which grounded off the east coast of Mauritius on July 25. In the days that followed, bad weather and constant pounding by the waves saw the starboard side bunker tank breached with fuel oil leaking into the sea and threatening an ecological disaster.
The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, told a press conference yesterday that no further oil had leaked from the ship since Sunday evening and that 500 metric tons of fuel had been pumped from the vessel on Monday. However he warned that there were big cracks in the vessel that were worsening and that he thought it would break in two.
The vessel is on time charter to Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. and is owned and managed by Nagashiki Shipping Co. Ltd. According to MOL, a boom has been deployed around the vessel and ITOPF (International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation) is advising the owner, salvage team and the Government on the pollution and possible effects.
Today, MOL said that a large team of professional oil responders and salvors, led by Smit International and contracted by the owners, has been on site for some days and noted that at the time the Wakashio ran aground, it had approximately 3,800 metric tons of very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) and 200 metric tons of diesel oil (DO) onboard.
MOL confirmed that the crack inside the hull of the ship has expanded. “Since this ship is unable to navigate by itself, it is moored to a tugboat so that it will not drift even if it is broken,” said MOL.
By August 11, local time, approximately 1,020 metric tonnes of VLSFO onboard had been pumped out and transferred onto small tankers. Approximately 1,180 metric tons had leaked out from the vessel fuel tank, with an estimated 1,000 metric tons has leaking outside of the vessel. About 460 metric tons of fuel is estimated to been manually recovered from the sea and coastline. About 1,600 metric tons of VLSFO and about 200 metric tons of DO remained on the ship, and transfer work will continue.
MOL says it is “doing everything possible to support the efforts of owner and manager, Nagashiki Shipping and its appointed teams in mitigating the effects of the spill.”