A Japanese oil tanker that ran aground off the coast of Mauritius has split into two, leaking over 1000 tonnes of oil into the sea.
The MV Wakashio was on route from China to Brazil when it ran aground on a coral reef off the coast of Mauritius on 25/July. It was carrying about 4000 tonnes of oil, and started leaking after a week when cracks appeared in the hull.
Salvage crews and local volunteers rushes to pump the remaining 3000 tonnes of oil from the vessel, and also recover oil that had escaped into the ocean.
The breakup of the hull was anticipated and images taken on Saturday indicated that the split was inevitable. 90 tonnes of oil was still on board when the split occurred, mostly residue left over from the previous leakage.
It is expected that teams will tow the front two-thirds of the ship out to sea and sunk, to avoid further damage to the Mauritian coastline. The remaining part is stuck on the coral reef and with the weather expected to deteriorate in the coming days, it has not been decided how to remove it.
The MV Wakashio is owned by Japan’s Nagashiki Shipping and chartered by Mitsui OSK Lines. The company has said it "feels deep responsibility" and will abide by the appropriate laws for compensation.
Mitsui OSK Lines has been involved in oil spills before, including one in 2006 in the Indian Ocean.
Photo credit: Mauritius Explored