Global Toxic Ship Fuel Scandal Revealed By Mauritius Oil Spill: A Special Report - Dateline Africa
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Global Toxic Ship Fuel Scandal Revealed By Mauritius Oil Spill: A Special Report

Global Toxic Ship Fuel Scandal Revealed By Mauritius Oil Spill: A Special Report

21 Dec,2020


A ship fuel scandal is being uncovered that looks likely to be larger than the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal. It involves some of the biggest names in the global oil and shipping industry, and goes to the very top of the UN shipping regulator, the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

As a result, thousands of ships around the world are at risk of catastrophic engine failures, putting the lives of millions of sailors, coastal communities and the ocean environment at risk around the world.

The four month wide-ranging special investigation published in Forbes today involved dozens of leading international organizations working around the world. For the first time, it reveals the scale of the scandal, danger and cover up.  It all unraveled with the grounding and large oil spill caused by the Japanese Bulk Carrier, The Wakashio, on the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius this summer. The bizarre response to the incident by what were supposed to be independent international oil spill responders, prompted several of the world’s leading pollution experts to describe this as ‘the strangest oil spill response we have ever seen,’ attracting even further scrutiny.

Is VLSFO ship fuel safe?

At the center of the scandal is a new experimental fuel used in large ocean-bound ships. The fuel’s name is called Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil or VLSFO, and it turns out to essentially be a made-up fuel. The mega-ships impacted by this experimental fuel carry 90% of the world’s trade, including large container ships for household goods, cargo ships for agricultural and industrial produce and supertankers for oil and gas.

The ship fuel industry is a $150 billion a year industry that has largely been hidden from the media and international climate discussions.

Three out of every four gifts delivered this Christmas would have been transported at some stage by ships using this new form of contaminated fuel.  It was hastily introduced on 1 January 2020 by the UN Shipping Agency, the IMO, without proper testing, and now presents a danger to ship safety and the environment.  To make matters worse, this fuel is also increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

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