SOURCE: Forbes

DATE: August 31, 2020

SNIP: On Monday, it was revealed that 47 whales have been found dead along the South East coast of Mauritius, including pregnant females and juveniles. The numbers continue to rise each day, around the crash site and sinking of the forward section of the Wakashio.

This come amid the extreme secrecy of the operation to salvage the rear of the vessel, disposal of the removed oil and clean up the oil along the coast. The lack of transparency about the methods being used for the cleanup is raising additional concerns about any longer term risk with the use of chemical dispersants. Comparisons are now being drawn between the cleanup in Mauritius and the hushed-up oil spill and cleanup operation in Venezuela earlier this month in its famous Morrocoy National Reserve.

Already, there were concerns about the controversial decision to deliberately sink the forward section of the Wakashio in an undisclosed location off the coast of Mauritius. Two days later, scores of dead dolphins and whales started drifting dead onto the shores of Mauritius.

The international NGO community have also started to raise serious questions about the role of the global shipping industry in this incident. In a statement to Forbes, global ocean protection NGO, Ocean Conservancy has called for a full and independent investigation into the whale and dolphin deaths in Mauritius.

Chris Robbins, head of Science Initiatives at Ocean Conservancy and who worked for a decade on oil spill response and ecosystem restoration after the BP Deepwater Horizon tragedy highlighted the risk to dolphins in particular following a major oil spill.

Ocean Conservancy’s Chris Robbins went further and cautioned about many of the secondary effects of an oil spill clean up operation that he had learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon tragedy, that ended up causing even more harm.

So far, there has been no additional comments from either the vessel owner, Nagashiki Shipping company, or the multi-billion dollar ship operator that had leased the vessel, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, on the deaths of the dolphins or whales.

Notably, there has also not been a public statement on the oil spill from several other major UN or other ocean protection organizations, 37 days into this major ecological crisis.