Published on 14 August 2020
The island of Mauritius has declared a ‘state of environmental emergency’ after a grounded vessel began leaking tonnes of oil into the Indian Ocean. Satellite images, which show the dark slick spreading in the nearby waters, are being used to monitor the ongoing spill.
The MV Wakashio vessel, reported to be carrying nearly 4000 tonnes of oil, ran aground on a coral reef on Mauritius’s southeast coast on 25 July. According to media reports, more than 1000 tonnes of fuel have leaked from the cracked vessel into the ocean – polluting the nearby coral reefs, as well as the surrounding beaches and lagoons.
In this image, captured on 11 August by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, the MV Wakashio, visible in the bottom of the image, is stranded close to Pointe d’Esny, an important wetland area. The oil slick can be seen as a thin, black line surrounded by the bright turquoise colours of the Indian Ocean. Oil is visible near the boat, as well as other locations around the lagoon.