The stranded freighter “ruocheo” leaked oil and Mauritius falls into ecological crisis

On the evening of July 25 local time, the freighter “ruochao”, carrying about 4200 tons of fuel oil, hit a coral reef about one nautical mile off the southeast coast of Mauritius without slowing down at all. The ship ran aground and 20 crew members were evacuated safely. In the next two weeks, the government of Mauritius negotiated with the parent company of the ship, the Japanese Changpu steamer, and the leasing company, Mitsui, a Japanese merchant shipping company, on the handling of the accident, while the stranded cargo ship remained in place. < / P > < p > until August 6, the starboard fuel tank in the cargo ship’s engine room broke and fuel overflowed. Black oil drifted all the way from the grounding point of the freighter to Egret Island, maabourg, Funi and bambuvrieu. Along the coastline day, the Mauritian government declared a “state of environmental emergency”, claiming that it was unable to deal with such large-scale oil spills, and asked the French and Indian governments for help. French President Marco ó n then sent a warship, a military aircraft and related experts to Mauritius. The Indian government has also sent oil spill recovery experts and shipped 30 tons of fuel oil cleaning equipment. On August 10, the Japanese government, the home country of the cargo ship, sent a team of six experts to Mauritius. But by then, about 1000 tons of fuel had leaked out. Local residents volunteer: we have an obligation to do something. If we don’t care, who can manage it. Who will do the work? All of us are united. Yes, that’s right. Unity is strength. Everyone gives an effort. Every strength will help. < / P > < p > thousands of volunteers gathered in a village of Fort Mae on the southeast coast of Mauritius. They used plastic bottles, cane leaves, towels, straw and other items to make oil fences. Volunteers drove boats to put the oil boom near the floating oil pollution to prevent the oil from spreading further. To clean up the oil that has floated to the shore, volunteers have to shovel the oil into the waste bucket. But in mangrove areas, people can only scoop out oil by hand. < / P > < p > local volunteer: deep in these mangroves, they are covered with fuel oil. Take a look at them. One by one, the thick oil is as thick as crude oil. Look at the root of the mangrove. Oh, my God. I don’t know how to clean it up. Take a look at this. At present, the accident investigation is still in progress. The Indian captain and the Sri Lankan chief officer of the vessel were also arrested by the Central Criminal Investigation Department of Mauritius. On August 18, the two men appeared at the court in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. According to the Mauritian national television network, the captain claimed in court that at the time of the incident, the freighter was driving close to the coastline to obtain mobile phone signals. He admitted that he had driven like this before. Usually, the freighter should keep 12 nautical miles away from the coast. When the “ruochao” ran aground, it was miles away from the coastline. According to satellite data, the freighter began to deviate from its normal course on July 21, four days before grounding. In the following days, the Mauritian Coast Guard repeatedly tried to contact the freighter and warned that its route was dangerous, but no reply was received. However, Mitsui, a Japanese merchant shipping company, which chartered the freighter “ruocheo”, confirmed that the “ruocheo” originally scheduled to go to Brazil via Singapore had deviated from the normal sea route when it hit the reef. Kato jiejie, executive director of Mitsui, mercantile ship: the cause of the accident was that the freighter was too close to the island when sailing. Why is it so close? Further investigation is needed. The government of Mauritius has said it will seek compensation from the shipowner of “ruochao” for the oil spill. Japan Shipowners Mutual Insurance Association predicted that the upper limit of compensation for the accident is expected to be about 2 billion yen, about 18.87 million U.S. dollars. However, it is difficult to estimate the environmental impact and loss caused by fuel leakage with money. < / P > < p > Cape esny wetland, a marine protected area designated by the International Convention on wetlands, is one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in Mauritius, and is also an area polluted by fuel oil. It is estimated that about 1700 species, including more than 800 kinds of fish, 17 kinds of marine mammals and 2 kinds of turtles, are facing the pollution threat caused by the oil spill. In the past 35 years, in order to protect the ecosystem and restore the coastal mangroves, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has planted about 200000 native trees and introduced endangered and extinct birds. However, all these efforts may be wasted due to the leakage of more than 1000 tons of fuel oil. John: we have been reintroducing endemic species, such as the olive Hydrangea, the red necked green dove and the Mauritian Finch, which are threatened by this accident. The smell of fuel affects all the animals on the island, and what we’ve done in the last 35 years could be destroyed. < p > < p > the leakage of more than 1000 tons of fuel oil covers the sea surface, which will lead to local biological poisoning and suffocation depending on the sea. Toxic hydrocarbons released from the fuel can also suffocate corals. Coral reefs are known as rain forests in the ocean, and about 25% of fish depend on them for survival. Coral reefs also protect the coastline from storms and erosion and are important tourism resources in Mauritius. The impact of the oil pollution on the local ecology is long-term, and it may take decades for the natural environment to recover, and some of the damage is even irreversible, according to the oceanographer kopamutu, who conducted the disaster investigation there. < / P > < p > oceanographer kopamutu: not only the ecological environment but also the economy will be affected. Many local people make a living by fishing. There are also many hotels here. Tourists are the source of the hotel’s economy.