Mauritius: MW Wakashio Oil Spill - Flash Update No. 3 (12 August 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published



• Efforts to extract most of the remaining fuel on MW Wakashio have been successful, capitalizing on good weather.

• The Prime Minister has thanked government departments, international organisations, friendly countries, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector and the local community for their roles in the response, acknowledging the hundreds of Mauritians who have joined clean-up efforts, crafting and deploying booms and bringing in food for the helpers.

• Teams of experts from France, India, Japan and the United Nations have arrived in Mauritius to support the Governmentled response.


Mauritian Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, briefed the media on 12 August that more than 3,000 tonnes of fuel that had remained on MW Wakashio had been successfully removed, with only a small amount (estimated at 100 tonnes) remaining on board. Extraction operations were boosted by good weather, with fuel being air-lifted by helicopter and transferred to another vessel at sea. Of the 4,180 metric tonnes (MT) of heavy oil initially on board the ship, 3,184 MT had been removed from the tanks and 166 metric tons were still being removed as of late 12 August. The Prime Minister updated that 570 cubic meters of spilled hydrocarbon and 150 tonnes of waste had already been skimmed and pumped out of the lagoons.

Cracks on the hull of MW Wakashio have continued to worsen and there remains a high likelihood that the bulk carrier will break-up. There are also concerns regarding the impact the oil spill will have on Mauritius’ unique ecosystems, including Blue Bay Marine Park, Pointe d’Esny Wetland and Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve and wildlife. Reports indicate that the oil is likely to drift northwards, with sightings as far north as Bambous Virieux.
Many people in the affected areas rely on fishing for their livelihoods, which will be impacted by the oil spill. Others rely on the tourism industry which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and now must contend with a second significant setback.

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