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Mauritius declares environmental emergency as oil spill ruins coast

Riviere Des Creoles, Mauritius: Fuel spilling from a Japanese bulk carrier that ran aground on a reef in Mauritius two weeks ago is creating an ecological disaster, endangering corals, fish and other marine life around the Indian Ocean island, officials and environmentalists say.

Drone pictures shows showed the extent of the oil spill, which has spread off the shore of Pointe d'Esny to Riviere des Creoles, a town 7 km (4.39 miles) away. "The oil trail is right next to an island called Ile aux Aigrettes, which is a natural reserve with endemic and endangered species," said Reuben Pillay, director of virtual tour site "For the local people, it's been terrible."

The government of Mauritius declared a state of environmental emergency on Thursday, nearly two weeks after the MV Wakashio, owned by the Nagashiki Shipping Company, struck the reef on Mauritius' southeast coast on July 25. Environmental group Greenpeace said the spill was to likely to be one of the most terrible ecological crises that Mauritius has ever seen.
"Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d'Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius' economy, food security and health," Greenpeace said in a statement.

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