The Everyday Heroes Of The Mauritius Oil Spill

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Tropical paradise. Ten seconds.

What comes to mind?

If you are like me, beautiful beaches, palm trees, and bright clear water come to mind. How about snorkeling over the reef? Seeing tiny fish in brilliant colors darting here and there?

Coming to shore and seeing. . .  Is that a pink pigeon? And a sea turtle? Wait, was that a pod of dolphins? What kind of flower is that? Have you ever seen water so clear?

See it? The turquoise water close to shore. The shift to blue beyond the reef. That point where you can’t tell the ocean from the sky.

Feel it? The sand beneath your toes, water gently lapping at your ankles? The soft salty breeze tugging at your hair?

Hear it? Full of sound and life but not the rushed stressful people sounds of the city. Here the ocean keeps a steady rhythm and all nature joins in the song. Birds call and insects sing.

Are you there? Now imagine this paradise is your home. What would you do to save it? How would you react if everything you held dear was being threatened?

Imagine for a moment going to your favorite kitesurfing spot. You look out over what is usually an uninterrupted teal blue sea, only to find a big blot on your horizon. There on the reef is a massive ship, clearly stuck. Your stomach drops and you feel a rising sense of dread.

For two weeks you go to the beach and continue to see this ship blot your picture-perfect view. Each day the ship tilts a little more. Troubled waters cause delays in moving the ship. And the wind says trouble is just beginning.

Then one day it happens. A wave cracks the hull. You stand horrified on the beach and watch a vein of inky black oil seeping from the ship. It snakes through the water toward your island. Toward your home. Promising, promising death.

Time is of the essence. Go!

What do you do? How do you react and why?

Disaster in Paradise: Mauritius Oil Spill

This is the exact situation that the island nation of Mauritius faced last summer. And the people of this little known spot in the Indian Ocean went above and far beyond to save their home. To save their paradise.

Cause of the Mauritius Oil Spill

On July 25, 2020, the MV Wakashio, a bulk cargo ship, ran aground on a coral reef off the Southeast coast of Mauritius. The Japanese owned vessel was headed to Brazil from Asia and was reported to have been carrying roughly 200 tons of diesel and nearly 4000 tons of fuel oil.

Attempts to remove the ship and to put out booms to catch possible oil were hampered by bad weather and rough seas. Then, on August 6th, 2020, a crack formed in the hull of the ship, and oil began leaking into the pristine waters. On August 7th, the government of Mauritius declared a national state of emergency as an estimated 1000 tons of oil escaped the hull of the ship.

Where in the World Is Mauritius?

 

oil-spill-in-mauritius-2020

Mauritius is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean approximately a thousand miles east of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is a subtropical island country and includes several small islands in its territories.

The main island of Mauritius is surrounded by coral reefs and has sandy beaches as well as fertile planes and a variety of landscapes that range from sandy beaches to Rocky mountains.

What Makes This Oil Spill So Bad?