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NOAA Continues to Provide Remote Technical Assistance in Mauritius Oil Spill Response

AUGUST 24, 2020 — About two and a half days after the vast majority of remaining petroleum onboard the grounded M/V WAKASHIO had been removed, the ship split apart on Saturday, Aug. 15, and spilled a small amount of additional oil.

Large shipping vessel.
The bulk carrier MV Wakashio before the spill. Image credit: Nagashiki Shipping.

Responders expect the bow of the vessel to be towed off the reef soon and scuttled 8 nautical miles out from the outer limit of the reef in about 2,000 meter depth. If the stern cannot be removed intact, plans are being developed to cut the stern up in place, which is expected to take several months. In the meantime, arrays of boom remain deployed to help capture any additional oil releases.

As most of the spilled oil is reported to be confined to the lagoon to the northwest of the grounding location and most has stranded ashore, the primary focus of responders on-scene has turned to shoreline cleanup. Shoreline cleanup challenges include areas of heavily oiled mangrove forests. Coral reefs, sea turtles, and subsistence fisheries are among other natural resources of particular concern. 

OR&R's Emergency Response Division (ERD) is coordinating technical assistance remotely to the Mauritius Ministry of Environment, as requested through the U.S. Department of State. On Aug. 17, the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) provided a time series analysis of satellite imagery made available through the Disasters Charter activation.

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For further information, contact Ruth.Yender@noaa.gov.

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Last updated Sunday, August 30, 2020 10:29am PDT