Mauritius is now on the brink of an environmental crisis due to oil leaking from the shipwreck of a bulk carrier that ran aground on July 25, two miles off its coast.
An environmental emergency has been declared in Mauritius after a tanker spilled almost 4,000 tons of oil in the Indian Ocean.
This has prompted Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth to cry out for help from France.
The oil spill "represents a danger" for the almost 1.3 million residents of Mauritius, after cracks have appeared in the ship's hull.
The government has declared an environmental emergency and France said it was sending help from its nearby Reunion island.
He has appealed for global help, emphasising the island lacks the resources to adequately deal with a spill of this size or to refloat the ship.
The ship ran aground on the country's southeast coast on July 25 with 4,000 tons of fuel onboard, per the Associated Press.
"When biodiversity is in peril, there is urgency to act", French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted. It is flagged in Panama with Okiyo Marine, an affiliate of Nagashiki Shipping, listed as the owner.
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"This is no longer a threat to our environment, it is a full-blown ecological disaster that has affected one of the most environmentally important parts of Mauritius, the Mahebourg Lagoon", said Sunil Dowarkasing, an environmental consultant and former member of parliament.
In the meantime, Mauritian environmentalists and coastal residents have worked together to deploy homemade floating devices in the hope of preventing the oil from spreading farther. After a salvage team identified the cracks in its hull, the team was evacuated and roughly 400 sea booms were set up to try and contain the spill, the nation's environment minister, Kavy Ramano, told reporters Thursday.
The government had asked the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion for assistance.
At their first news conference since the ship ran aground two weeks ago, the officials said they have sent experts to Mauritius to join in the cleanup effort.
Authorities in Mauritius, on Friday, said they were battling with a huge oil spill from a Japanese vessel, off the coast of the popular tourist island.
"We will make an all-out effort to resolve the situation early", the statement said.
The ship's captain, a 58-year-old Indian, will accompany officers on the search, police said.
In a statement, the ship's owner, Nagashiki Shipping, said that "due to the bad weather and constant pounding over the past few days, the starboard side bunker tank of the vessel has been breached and an amount of fuel oil has escaped into the sea".