An oil tanker has run aground on a coral reef in an environmentally sensitive area in Mauritius, near Africa. It is unknown why the tanker was out of its shipping lane, near Pointe d’Esny, and there is a chance that the MV Wakashio will break up. There are three tank containers of oil, and so far only one has leaked.
A line of oil has been seen near Pointe d’Esny and the Ile-aux-Aigrettes. The area has been the site of several conservation efforts, beginning in 1985, including: the replanting of 200,000 indigenous trees along the coast, re-introduction of an endangered bird, the Mauritius Fody species, and the pink pigeon. The area is also home to the Blue Bay Marine Park and Mahebourg Lagoon, famous for its pristine waters and coral reefs.
Vikash Tatayah, a director of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation has reported that thousands of plants from a nearby nursery, fruit bats and some threatened birds have been moved from Ile-aux-Aigrettes.
Thousands of those who live in Mauritius make their living from the sea, and eco-tourism. France, Japan and the United Nations have sent in experts, including some from nearby Reunion Island, with pollution control equipment.
Mauritius has declared the area an environmental disaster, and is seeking compensation. Professor Richard Steiner, a marine biologist who was an advisor at the Solomon Islands oil spill, advises the consequences of the spill will be felt for years to come.