Friday, 18 Sep 2020

Dozens of dead dolphins wash up on the shore after devastating oil spill

Dozens of dead dolphins have been washed ashore after a devastating fuel spillage in Mauritius.

Environmental organisation, Greenpeace said 39 mammals have been discovered since a Japanese ship struck a coral reef spilling 1,000 tonnes of oil off the Indian Ocean island on July 25.

The deaths, which have been increasing in recent days, have led to calls for an urgent investigation.

Meanwhile, local fishermen have taken to banging iron bars together to create “a sonar wall” to prevent more animals from stranding on the shore, Greenpeace said.

Happy Khambule, a senior climate and energy campaign manager at Greenpeace Africa, said: “This is a deeply sad and alarming day for the people of Mauritius and for its singular biodiversity."

He said that Greenpeace had urged the authorities to “carry out a swift, transparent and public autopsy on the bodies collected," the New York Times reports.

The Wakashio, a Japanese-owned but Panama-flagged bulk carrier, had been carrying 200 tonnes of diesel and 3,800 tonnes of fuel oil when it ran aground off the southeast coast.

Authorities deployed a 550-yard-long fence around the vessel and hundreds of booms.

But bunker oil leaked from the ship on August 6 and the vessel broke apart on Auguse 15,  according to Tokyo-Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., the company that chartered the ship.

Three days later, two of the ship’s officers were arrested by the Mauritian authorities and charged with unsafe navigation, the company said.

The authorities declared a “state of environmental emergency” and said they were working with experts from France, Japan, India and the United Nations to contain the spill.

Véronique Couttee, a conservation biologist originally from Mauritius, said there was anger over the government’s response to the disaster, which she said was alarmingly slow.

“It’s been incredibly heartbreaking for me and all other Mauritians,” Ms. Couttee told the paper.

“The whole livelihood of a community depends on this area.”

Tokyo-Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said that it had dispatched employees and equipment to clean up the spill and would “continue to work with the relevant authorities of Mauritius and Japan to mitigate the situation as soon as possible together with the shipowners.”

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