NWDMAN-MADEMauritius Oil Spill: How It Was and What Were the Consequences

Mauritius Oil Spill: How It Was and What Were the Consequences

mauritius oil spill

2020 has become a “black mark” for the whole world. It also turned out to be terrifying for nature: this year, environmental disasters occurred with enviable regularity all over the world (albeit for different reasons). One such disaster was the Mauritius oil spill. Today we will try to consider why the Mauritius oil spill happened, how the public reacted, and what the company did that caused the Mauritius oil spill in 2020.

How Maldives Oil Spill Happened?

On July 25, the Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio, en route from China to Brazil, ran aground in the area of ​​coral reefs. Soon the ship split in two and then an oil spill of about 4 tons occurred.

The accident with the tanker Wakashio, which caused the oil spill off the coast of Mauritius, occurred after the crew approached the coast to get into the cellular coverage area. The crew members were insufficiently informed about the safe navigation rules and their adherence to them was insufficient as the crew did not prepare a proper passage plan.

It was later revealed that the ship’s crew did not use suitable navigational charts and neglected watchkeeping and radar tracking, resulting in a collision with a coral reef and an oil spill.

Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo commented: “This is the first time we have encountered a disaster of this kind, but we are not equipped to deal with this problem.”

Specialists from France, Japan, Great Britain, and India came to the aid of Mauritius. It was possible to pump out the spilled oil, but the Japanese tanker was unable to lift it completely. As well as eliminating the consequences of the oil spill. The local population demanded an objective investigation of the incident.

Residents believe that the government is hesitating to investigate and making insufficient efforts to combat the environmental disaster. Greenpeace is also currently working on a plan to support residents.

What Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Did?

maldives oil spill

Initially, the company did not want to take full responsibility for the tragedy that happened. Following the oil spill, the Department of Transportation was quick to publish a letter of apology, but that did not stop public outrage. Mauritius has seen some of the most numerous protests in its history. In Japan, tens of thousands have signed petitions demanding that Mitsui O.S.K. Lines took responsibility, provided reports, donated funds to the people of Mauritius, and ditched fossil fuels.

But later Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, which operated the tanker Wakashio, intended to allocate 500 million yen ($4.8 million) to implement measures to prevent a recurrence of the accident, including training in the use of navigational charts.

And after the protests, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has apologized for the harm and offered to send 1 billion yen to fund environmental projects and support local fishermen.

Why Is This Accident Serious?

The disaster took place in the Pointe d’Esny area, near the Blue Bay Marine Park. This area is included in the list of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Thousands of birds and animals are threatened, as well as coral reefs, some of which have lost oxygen. The disaster killed starfish and other organisms.

It was here that many Hollywood films were filmed, showing viewers untouched nature. When we see that beauty again and whether nature can be restored, no one can say. The economy of Mauritius, which depends on tourism, is also under threat. The island has been one of the most popular honeymoon destinations for many years and has been extremely popular with tourists. Coronavirus restrictions and now a disaster have called into question the future of tourism on the island.

The possibility of an oil spill in these waters underlines once again that threats to our oceans are growing every day: climate change, plastic pollution, threats to animals from industrial fishing – it is time for international cooperation to protect our oceans.

What to Do?

wakashio mauritius

At first glance, it seems that you just need to unite and collect oil to save the local ecosystem. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There is no such thing as a “full cleanup”. Yes, governments and companies can take the necessary steps to minimize pollution, but you need to understand that it is impossible to collect all spilled oil or reverse its impact on biodiversity. This is only an attempt to minimize the damage caused, which is often irreversible.


The oil spill in 2020 in Mauritius is another reminder of how dangerous fossil fuels are. The oil carries many risks and negative consequences, whether it is pumped out, transported, or burned. Another accident proves once again that countries need to unite not in the fight against spills, but with the transition to alternative types of energy. In taking action to prevent future oil spills, corporations and governments must also accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels. Around the world, there is a growing movement of citizens demanding action, as well as the material and technical capabilities of humankind, to accelerate the positive dynamics of the safety of navigation.

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