Anxious residents of the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius filled cloth sacks with sugar cane leaves Saturday to create inadequate barriers to oil spills as tons of fuel leakage from a grounded vessel put endangered wildlife in more risk. The government has declared an environmental emergency and France has said it is sending aid from its nearby island of Reunion. Satellite images showed a dark slick spreading in the turquoise waters near wetlands called “very sensitive” by the Government.
A French statement from Reunion on Saturday said a military transport aircraft was carrying pollution control equipment to Mauritius and a navy vessel will set sail for the island nation with additional material. People and environmentalists alike were asking why officials didn’t move sooner after the ship ran aground on a reef on July 25. Mauritius says the container, the MV Wakashio, carried around 4,000 tons of fuel.
Heavy winds are expected to push the oil slick even farther along the mainland’s shore. A Mauritius Meteorological Services forecast for Sunday has advised that seas will be rough with swells beyond the reefs and “ventures in the open seas are not advised.”