SATELLITE images have revealed the devastating extent of the Mauritius oil spill that can be seen all the way from space.
The island nation of Mauritius has declared a “state of environmental emergency” after oil tanker MV Wakashio leaked 1,000 tonnes of fuel into the Indian Ocean.
The Japanese-owned carrier ship struck a coral reef two miles from Mauritius' southeast coast, near Pointe d'Esny, on July 25.
As the ship's hull slowly breaks apart some of its oil cargo is leaking into the sea as a desperate recuse operation is underway to try and stop it.
When the ship first became stuck, the crew were safely evacuated and efforts were made to try and salvage the fuel oil, diesel and lubricant oil that it's carrying.
However, these efforts failed and a new crack in the hull has led to environmental disaster.
Some 500 tonnes of oil have been salvaged from the ship, but there are still 2,500 tonnes remaining on board.
The satellite images were captured by space tech operated by Maxar Technologies.
They were taken on the morning of August 7 and show how plumes of black oil are taking over the ocean.
Greenpeace Africa said in a statement that the oil spill "is likely one of the most terrible ecological crises ever seen on the small island country".
It warned that hundreds of tonnes of diesel and oil has leaked into the water.
The location of the leaking oil is near a tourist destination and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
Groups of people are trying to help save animals in this protected conservation area.
As the deadly slick closed in, anxious locals stuffed sacks with leaves and created makeshift straw barriers to protect the famous honeymoon resort.
Photos of volunteers show them covered in the thick black sludge.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said the spill “represents a danger” for the country of some 1.3 million people that relies heavily on tourism and has been been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Marine protected areas in Mauritius cover an extent of 28 sq miles (7190 hectares), including six fishing reserves and two marine parks.
Jugnauth told journalists that the boat's documents and black boxes have been recovered, reports Le Xpress from Mauritius.
France revealed it is now sending specialist help from its nearby Reunion Island.
Equipment is also being sent from Greece to help the clean-up operation.
The Mauritius government "is taking all necessary actions so as to contain the oil spill from the MV Wakashio and some 400 sea booms have been deployed to secure the sensitive areas," said Environment Minister Kavydass Ramano.
The operator of the Japanese bulk carrier apologised on Sunday.
Japan is sending a six-person disaster relief team, on the request of the Mauritius government, to help with removing the spilt oil, according to a statement by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
“We apologise profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Akihiko Ono, executive vice president of Mitsui OSK Lines said at a news conference in Tokyo.
He added that the company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue”.
In other news, record temperatures in the UK are bringing swarms of jellyfish to its beaches.
Beavers have won the permanent 'right to remain' in a river in the UK.
And, coastal flooding will rise by up to 50% globally by 2100 – endangering millions of lives, a new report has warned.
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