The Mauritius government said it will seek compensation from the owner of a Japanese freighter that spilled oil after it ran aground off the Indian Ocean island nation last month.

The government said Friday in a statement that the oil pollution caused by the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio is "currently having an adverse economic, social and environmental impact on the population and the environment."

Photo taken Aug. 16, 2020 shows a bulk carrier that ran aground off the island of Mauritius on July 25 having split apart. (Photo courtesy of

The government called for those who have sustained losses or damage caused by the oil contamination to submit their claims.

Nagashiki Shipping Co., an Okayama Prefecture-based company that owns the vessel, has said it will deal "in good faith" with the issue of compensation.

Meanwhile, the freighter has broken into two, and the front part of the body will be towed offshore, Nagashiki Shipping said Sunday.

It is still considering how to deal with the remaining part, the company added. According to media reports, the front part will be sunk at least 1,000 kilometers off the island nation.

The government said Wednesday that the removal of fuel oil from the freighter is almost complete. After the ship broke apart, remaining fuel spread out into the Indian Ocean, according to media reports.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., the operator of Wakashio, said earlier more than 1,000 tons of fuel oil has leaked from the vessel. Portions of the leaked fuel oil reached the country's shores, local authorities said.

The grounding occurred near Pointe d'Esny, an area designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which is close to Blue Bay Marine Park, another Ramsar site.

The vessel was carrying a total of some 3,800 tons of fuel oil and 200 tons of diesel when it ran aground on July 25. Leakage began last week when one of the five fuel tanks suffered a crack.

Mauritius declared a state of environmental emergency on Aug. 7 over the fuel leakage, citing the impact on endangered animals such as indigenous wild birds and sea turtles.

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