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MV Wakashio oil spill (Mauritius)

An expert from Cedre is at the scene

On 25th August, the experts from Ceppol and Cedre returned to Reunion Island. Oil removal operations continued in the stern section of the vessel.

On the afternoon of 24th August, the bow section sank.

On 20th August, once prior oil removal operations had been completed by SMIT Salvage, scuttling of the bow section of the Wakashio began. Oil continued to be removed from the stern section by SMIT Salvage.

On the morning of 19th August, the bow section of the vessel was towed out to sea by two tugs, to around 20 km off the coast. Solutions are to be put forward by SMIT Salvage to deal with the stern section of the MV Wakashio which currently rests on the sand and coral reef where it ran aground.

On 17th August, our expert and the Ceppol expert arrived in Mauritius. They joined the Mauritian authorities at the incident command centre.

On 16th August, the vessel broke in two. The French Minister for Overseas France, during his visit to Reunion Island then Mauritius, offered additional French equipment as well as the support of 3 spill response experts, two from Ceppol and one from Cedre.

On 14th August, the French DM SOI and FAZSOI response teams continued to support Mauritius in the implementation of operations around the wreck, in the lagoon and on the affected shoreline. Sébastien Lecornu, Minister for Overseas France, is scheduled to visit the site on the 16th to take stock of the French organisation in place to assist the Mauritian authorities with spill response.

By 13th August, our expert was working at the Reunion Prefecture in close collaboration with French Navy Centre of Practical Expertise in Pollution Response, Ceppol.

On 12th August, SMIT Salvage announced that oil pumping operations were complete. At the time of grounding, the vessel was carrying 3,800 tonnes of LSFO, 200 tonnes of diesel and 90 tonnes of lube oil. The same day, representatives of French shoreline clean-up contractor Le Floch Dépollution, contracted by the Japanese shipowner, arrived on-site.

On 11th August, the Mauritian authorities estimated the quantity of released at sea at between 800 and 1000 tonnes.

On 10th August, Cedre was called out to assist the Reunion Prefecture in its support for the Mauritian authorities.

On 9th August, French resources were deployed, in particular to protect Blue Bay Marine Park.

On 7th August, spill response equipment and French experts from the naval base and POLMAR shoreline response stockpile were mobilised and arrived on the island on the 8th.

On the morning of 6th August, oil leaked out of a fuel tank. On the same day, a command post was set up by the French Prefect for the South Indian Ocean Defence and Security Zone, gathering various stakeholders including AEM (French State action at sea),  FAZSOI (French Armed Forces in the South Indian Ocean),  DM SOI (French maritime affairs directorate for the Indian Ocean), the South Indian Ocean MRCC and the French Naval staff for the defence zone. Cedre was placed on alert. Under the auspices of the sub-regional oil spill contingency plan for the Western Indian Ocean Islands, France is providing support to the Mauritian authorities.

On 31st July, a team of experts from SMIT Salvage boarded the vessel to inspect it, assess the situation, organise operations to pump the oil out of the vessel’s tanks and refloat the ship.

On 28th July, traces of oil were detected in the lagoon and floating booms were set up.

On 25th July 2020 at approximately 7:30 pm, the MV Wakashio, bound for Brazil, hit a reef and ran aground off Pointe d’Esny, on the south-east coast of Mauritius. The Mauritian authorities immediately activated the national contingency plan.

Soon after the incident occurred, several States offered support to the Mauritian authorities.


See also

We have received many questions on the use of hair to recover oil at the water surface. For further information: 

Monday 10th August, press conference at the French Embassy by First Counsellor, Jean Lohest.


Another grounding and spill in the same area: bulk carrier Benita on 17th June 2016. Page 9 of our Sea & Shore Technical Newsletter n°42-43.


Previous spills in coral reefs:

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