The International Maritime Organization (IMO) on Tuesday (11 August) said it has joined international efforts to assist the Government of Mauritius following an oil leak from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground on 25 July off Pointe d’Esny natural area, south-eastern coast of Mauritius.
IMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit have jointly deployed an oil spill response expert, it said.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and border closures in Mauritius, the expert was (11 August) awaiting onward travel via specially chartered UN flight from Nairobi, following COVID tests.*
Approximately 3,894 tonnes of low-sulphur fuel oil, 207 tonnes of diesel and 90 tonnes of lubricant oil were on board the MV Wakashio.
An amount of oil leaked following severe weather conditions. The affected area is located in a very sensitive zone that includes the Blue Bay Marine Park, Ile aux Aigrettes, and the Ramsar sites. Satellite mapping support is being sought from UNOSAT, to provide an indication of the extent of the spill and to inform the response effort.
Alongside IMO and OCHA, the United Nations development Program (UNDP) Mauritius and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) are also mobilising environmental and oil spill experts.
A number of countries, including France and Japan, are also assisting Mauritius, which has activated its national oil spill contingency plan.
IMO is supporting the Government of Mauritius by providing technical advice on oil spill response issues and in the coordination of assistance.
*update 11/8/2020 – the expert is now on route to Mauritius, expected to arrive 11/8/2020 by the evening.
Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 12 August, 2020
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