Oil spill near Mauritius becomes an environmental disaster. Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the island of Mauritius, where a “state of environmental emergency” has been declared after a grounded oil tanker started leaking into the Indian Ocean.
Experts are monitoring the ongoing spill with satellite imagery, which shows the oil slick as it invades the surrounding waters.
The MV Wakashio vessel ran aground on the southeast coast of Mauritius on July 25, 2020. Media reports suggest that the vessel has already leaked more than 1,000 tons of fuel into the ocean, polluting nearby coral reefs, lagoons, and the surrounding beaches. The ship is believed to be carrying a total of 4,000 tons of oil.
In this image, the oil slick can be seen as a thin, black line surrounded by the bright turquoise colors of the Indian Ocean. Oil spill near Mauritius becomes an environmental disaster
The photograph was captured on August 11 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.
Arab sailors were possibly the first to discover the uninhabited island around 975, which they called Dina Arobi. The earliest confirmed discovery was in 1507 by Portuguese sailors, who otherwise took little interest in the islands. The Dutch took possession in 1598, establishing a succession of short-lived settlements before abandoning their efforts in 1710. France took control in 1715, renaming it Isle de France. In 1810 the island was seized by Great Britain, and four years later France ceded Mauritius and its dependencies to the former. As a British colony, Mauritius included Rodrigues, Agalega, St. Brandon, Tromelin, the Chagos Archipelago, and, until 1906, the Seychelles. Sovereignty over Tromelin is disputed between Mauritius and France, as it was not specifically mentioned in the Treaty of Paris. Mauritius remained a primarily plantation-based colony of the United Kingdom until independence in 1968.
Image Credit: ESA