Oil spill off Mauritius coast can be seen from space

The island nation of Mauritius, in the southwest Indian Ocean, has suffered an environmental catastrophe after a cargo ship crashed into a coral reef, an accident that has led to a large oil spill. Oil spill off Mauritius coast is visible from space and can be seen in this satellite image.

Oil spill off Mauritius coast can be seen from space
A bulk carrier ship, MV Wakashio, that recently ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius has been spilling oil into the sea, as seen in satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Aug. 7, 2020.
(Image: © Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

According to local media , the Oil spill off Mauritius coast could turn into a major environmental disaster if the ship – which also loads gasoline, diesel and a petroleum lubricant – continues to break down.

The boat is of Japanese origin – although it sails under the Panamanian flag – and is called MV Makashio.

 It hit the reef near Pointe d’Esny, off the coast of Mauritius, on July 25. After a few weeks, a crack has opened in its hull, which means that tons of the cargo are compromised.

“This is the first time we have faced such a situation and we do not have the necessary equipment to handle it,” said Sudheer Maudhoo , Mauritius’ minister of fisheries.

Oil spill off Mauritius coast can be seen from space
Credit: @hugoclement via Twitter.

The spill did not happen immediately. The MV Wakashio ran aground when it collided with a reef about 3.2 kilometers off the coast of Mauritius and the crew had to be evacuated. 
Since then, efforts to stabilize the ship and extract the oil have failed, all as the strong waves of the Indian Ocean crash against the hull, ”added Environment Minister Kavy Ramano.

It wasn’t until this past week that oil began seeping through a crevice into the blue waters, attracting the attention of curious tourists and fishermen.

The spill has increased these days. In fact, its magnitude is already visible from space.

 The satellites operated by Maxar Technologies took the images that illustrate this news just three days ago.

Nagashiki Shipping , the company that owns the MV Wakashio, said that rescue efforts were delayed due to adverse sea conditions, but that they were monitoring the situation:

“We take environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and together with partners and contractors we will do what is within our power to protect the marine environment and prevent further pollution. ‘

The location of the accident, Pointe d’Esny, is an environmentally sensitive area protected by an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of waters, known as the Ramsar Convention.
 It is also close to the Bahía Azul Marine Park, an important tourist destination.

Several groups are trying to stop the flow of liquid from the sinking cargo ship, including the Mauritius National Coast Guard and the environmental group Polyeco.

“The oil spill probably represents one of the most dire ecological crises seen in this small island country, ” Greenpeace Africa said in a statement.

But this is not the only polluting spill that has occurred in 2020.
At least another eight have taken place throughout this year, according to the catalog compiled by Wikipedia. 

The list includes the incident that occurred on May 29, when Russia declared an emergency after 20,000 metric tons of fuel was spilled in the Arctic Circle . On that occasion, its magnitude was also recorded from space.

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