BP Found Responsible For Mauritius Oil Spill And Blocking Investigation Prior To Ship’s Departure
Oil and gas company BP has been found responsible for the toxic oil involved in the Mauritius oil spill last year.
On July 25, the Wakashio bulk carrier ship ran aground and began leaking oil into the Indian Ocean, resulting in serious environmental damage. It had been transporting 3,894 tons of low-sulfur fuel oil, 207 tons of diesel and 90 tons of lubricant oil to Brazil from China.
Newly-released documents show that, not only was BP behind the Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (VLSFO), it had also formally blocked an investigation into the fuel, which was reportedly known to be faulty from the moment the Japanese bulk carrier set off from Singapore
As reported by Forbes, Japanese shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) had been aware that the VLSFO exceeded engine safety limits, and had been worried that the fuel could result in serious engine failure. It had tried to communicate this information to the ship’s crew.
By allowing the Wakashio to set sail, both BP and MOL had been taking a risk with the crew’s safety, as well as with the coastline of the surrounding countries.
The oil was reportedly rushed through for approval by the IMO – the United Nations shipping agency – back in January 2020, and proper safety testing had not been conducted.
VLSFO ship fuel is regarded to be a ‘super-pollutant’ by environmental NGOs, with many groups calling for it to be banned from the Arctic and other parts of the ocean with immediate effect.
As per Forbes, VLSFO currently powers 70% of all large ships across the globe. A least 6% of these ships (3600) are believed to be at risk of engine failure at any given moment.
Greenpeace’s Melita Steele told Forbes:
The Wakashio oil spill is a tragedy that continues to directly affect the safety, health and economic well being of the people of Mauritius. It is also negatively impacting on one of the world’s most precious biodiversity hotspots in the Indian Ocean.
The oil spill and the damage it brings to Mauritians and to the ocean is the result of our reliance on fossil fuels and a shipping industry that is dragging its feet instead of decarbonizing swiftly, in line with the Paris Agreement.
Drilling, transporting and burning fossil fuels drives the climate crisis, and Greenpeace continues to campaign for a future beyond fossil fuels. The secretive practices of both the shipping and oil industries must be exposed, along with any attempts at greenwashing.
These documents emerged as part of a six-month global investigation by several investigative organizations which involved four of Greenpeace’s worldwide offices. Many documents were brought to light through Freedom of Information requests which were lodged in several countries.
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