A Japanese bulk carrier, MV Wakashio which is owned by Nagashiki Shipping, raised fears of ecological crisis for Mauritians as the huge ship struck a coral reef on the southeast coast of Mauritius.
The oil carrier, which is operated by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd, started leaking an estimated of 1,000 tonnes of oil nearly two weeks after being grounded after it struck a coral reef.
After the oil leak started spreading in the waters of the Indian Ocean, volunteers took to the waters to fish out dead-sea life.
The International Maritime Organization has also lent a helping hand by providing technical advice and coordinating the response. The Mauritius government is also in collaboration with former colonial ruler, France, to try and remove the oil.
It is expected that the fragmentation of the oil in the sea will damage the sea life as well as the corals as soon as the heavier particles of the oil lays rest on them.
The conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, Vikash Tatayah, added that this crisis has set back two decades worth of restoring the natural wildlife and plants in the lagoon, which started in 2000.
"There is some anger and some criticism from the civil society that the government may have taken too much time to respond," Tatayah said.
It is reported that the MV Wakashio still holds some of 2,000 tonnes of oil, which is expected to eventually break up.
"We don’t know what may happen further with the boat, it may crack more," said clean up volunteer, Yvan Luckhun.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth warned the country to be prepared for the worst outcomes, and declared a state of emergency due to the spill.
Steps have been taken by the government to prevent the disaster and more strategies are being implemented.
Japan's ClassNK inspection body stated that the damaged ship had indeed passed an annual inspection in March 2020.
Mitsui OSK Lines said in a statement: "We will do our utmost towards resolving the situation quickly." The company also added that they have sent six employees to the site of the leakage and is considering to provide more workers including transport supplies.