The unsubmerged section of a Japanese bulk carrier that caused a disastrous oil spill off the East African island nation of Mauritius was deliberately sunk in the Indian Ocean Tuesday, local authorities and media reported.
Japan’s Nagashiki shipping company, which owns the ship which ran aground on July 25, also confirmed Tuesday that the ship has now been completely sunk in an area as directed by local authorities.
"The front part of the Wakashio rests at a depth of 3,180 meters [10,433 feet] as the bulk carrier sank completely into the abyss," local daily Le Mauricien reported Tuesday, citing a government communication.
Holes were made in the ship’s bulkhead to speed up the sinking process, it said.
Officials also confirmed to local media that ship’s rear will be dismantled as a considerable amount of oil inside had been removed.
Most of the crew told an inquiry that the ship had a habit of approaching land to pick up the internet and was not on autopilot when it ran aground.
Since the spill of some 800 tons of oil began, locals came out in large numbers to help in the cleaning process. They shared photos on social media of oil-covered birds, sea turtles, and ornate day geckos, many of them dead.
Environmentalists warn it will take a long time for Mauritius’ ecosystem to recover from the problems caused by the oil spill, underlining that the damage the spill did to the marine ecosystem around Blue Bay Marine Park and the Mahebourg coral lagoon will last for generations.
By Andrew Wasike in Nairobi, Kenya