Last month, a Japanese ship ran aground, and as a result, thousands of gallons of oil got spilled into the ocean. Now, there have been many dolphins washing up dead along the coast of Mauritius. So far, there have been 14 dead dolphins that were discovered along the coastline. In addition, there have been other critically sick Electra dolphins that are becoming stranded along the shore.
The Japanese ship, MV Wakashio, ran aground on a coral reef back in July, prompting Greenpeace – a well-known international environmental campaign organization – to start a conversation demanding that the incident be further investigated.
In response to the dead and dying dolphins, the Associated Press reports that Sunil Dowarkasing, the environmental consultant for Mauritius, said that it is a tragedy since they’ve been experiencing many dolphin deaths recently. He added that they’ve been seeing many distressed dolphins beaching themselves, eventually dying as a result. It has been a sight they’ve never seen before – ever.
Besides the dead dolphins that have turned up on shore, there have been many other dolphin deaths that have occurred out at sea. Dowarkasing confirmed that there will be autopsies performed on all these dolphins in order to pinpoint the cause of death.
As he shared with the Associated Press, “I think there are two possibilities: Either they died from tonnes of fuel spilled in the sea, or they were poisoned by the toxic materials on the bow of the ship that was sunk offshore.”
Dowarkasing further added that Mauritius has been worried that the oil spill that occurred will bring ruin to the island’s protected and preserved areas.
When the Japanese bulk carrier ship ran aground, it spent several days at sea where the hull ended up cracking. This then caused the fuel to begin to leak into the surrounding ocean. Much of the oil ended up spilling into the Mahebourg Lagoon, as well as a protected wetlands area, an area of Mangrove Swamp, and another small island that is a sanctuary for both birds and wildlife.
Afterward, the ship ended up splitting into two chunks. The bow, which ended up breaking off and being smaller than the other two parts of the ship, was then towed out to sea and sunk.
The ship’s captain, as well as the first officer, have been charged with “endangering safe navigation.” There is still no knowledge as to why the ship was so far off course in the first place.
This incident must be investigated fully and transparently!
If the oil spill was indeed the cause of this tragedy, then the polluters must be held accountable for the harm done to coastal communities and their #Biodiversity >> https://t.co/OHBtIChDzf #BreakFreeFromFossilFuels
— Greenpeace Africa (@Greenpeaceafric) August 26, 2020
The senior climate and energy campaign manager for Greenpeace Africa, Happy Khambule, stated that the event was not only a sad day for Mauritius’s people and environment, but it was also a very alarming day as well. The reason being that the long-term effects of such a spill are still unknown. But more than likely there will be a huge effect on the area’s populations of whales, turtles, and birds, along with other marine life.
In an effort to get to the bottom of things and better handle the environmental crisis, Greenpeace Africa along with its Japanese counterparts and the Mauritian human rights organization, Dis Moi, signed a letter addressed to the government asking for full transparency and accountability.
As Vijay Naraidoo, coordinator for Dis Moi, pointed out on Green Peace’s blog, the ocean is a part of the Mauritian identity given that many of the country’s coastal communities heavily rely on the sea – a life force that must be kept healthy.
I only hope that one day we will all known the importance of keeping our oceans clean. Watch the video below:
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.