The Mauritian Government had to declare a state of ‘environmental emergency’ in the country

Indian Navy divers help assess the ecological impact of MV Wakashio’ incident in coordination with National Coast Guard of Mauritius, following a major oil spill off the coast of the island nation. INS Nireekshak, a specialised Diving Support Vessel, reached Port Louis on Aug 24, 2020 and is expected to sail back to India tomorrow. The ship has the capability to provide assistance towards fighting the Oil Spill by removal of floating and submerged sullage/ oil from the site near the Wakashio wreck. Additionally, the ship can provide Seaward Security and Medical Cover off the incident site and as a specialized Diving Support Vessel carries a crew of specialist divers on board.

“The deployment of this ship is in line with India’s longstanding commitment to extend support to Mauritius at difficult times. And the deployment of Naval ship follows the recent deployment of a Technical Response Team and delivery of nearly 30 tonnes of specialized anti-pollution equipment by India on Aug 16 to combat and extend assistance for managing the MV Wakashio oil spill incident,” said the official spokesperson of the Indian Navy.

What Happened?

On July 25th a Japanese-firm owned bulk carrier vessel ‘MV Wakashio’ ran aground on a reef at Pointe d’Esny along Mauritius’ south-eastern coastal region. According to various reports, in the weeks following the incident, the ship has leaked more than 1,000 tonnes of oil into the Indian Ocean. This has raised the alarm for the marine ecosystems.

The Mauritian Government had to declare a state of ‘environmental emergency’ in the country.

Dead marine life is already being reported from the coastlines, and over the long term, the spill could cause lasting damage to that country’s clean sea beaches. And this could have a negative impact on the country’s tourism-based economy and the livelihood and food of its inhabitants.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, India is a key development partner of Mauritius, the Indian High Commission in Mauritius and Indian Oil (Mauritius) Limited has been constantly in touch with Mauritius authorities regarding the crisis and has extended a helping hand.

What Has India Sent?

One Indian Air Force’s C17 Globemaster and one Indian Navy ship have already there with a 10-member response team from the Indian Coast Guard along with 30 tonnes of specialized equipment (including booms, skimmers, blowers, Graphene-based oil absorbent pads, etc.) to contribute towards the clean-up operations that are underway.

Made In India Special Absorbent Pads From Tech Start-Up Log 9 Spill Containment Pvt Ltd

Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) ordered 10,000 units of ‘Made-in-India’ Graphene oil absorbent pads called as ‘Sorbene’ pads, and are being used in the clean up operation. These special pads were supplied by Mumbai-headquartered clean-tech start-up Log 9 Spill Containment Pvt. Ltd.

Talking about the special pads that are being used, Dhananjay Sharma, CEO, Log 9 Spill Containment says, “These Graphene-based ‘Sorbene’ pads are able to absorb large volumes of oil and can be reused for up to 6-7 times so that the sorbents can provide more recovery of spilled oil.”

Expressing confidence that the pads will be instrumental in helping clean up, the company’s CEO said, “They can absorb oil up to 86 times their weight. Three different variants — Ultra High Oil Absorbent Pads, High Oil Absorbent Pads, and Oil Absorbent Pads have been supplied for the emergency operation. Also, have been sent to Mauritius for the clean-up operation.”

What Is Special About These Pads?

The company has claimed that the sorbent range made of ‘Graphene’ (an allotrope of Carbon) and helps in efficiently absorb spill from cracks, water bodies and crevices.

Once the pads are saturated with oil and recovered, the oil can be squeezed out in a container and then the pad is ready to be reused again for up to 6 cycles. This reduces the number of pads required to clean the spill and also solves the final disposal problem, as the number of pads that goes for disposal is very less and do not contain much oil when they go for incineration.