2020/2021 : MV wakashio, mauritius

- Quantity spilled : Approx 1 000 tons

- Duration of operations : 6 months

- Staff : + 200 operators

The grounding of the bulk carrier MV Wakashio in july 2020, which spilled more than 1 000 tons of oil, highly impacted the south-east mauritian shoreline.

An unprecedented disaster impacting a region characterized by its diversity and significant ecological wealth (coral reefs, mangroves, endemic species, etc.).

This incident also marks a new turning point in the field of oil spill response.

Indeed, the pollutant spilled is a new type of oil called "VLSFO" (Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil), with a different behavior compared to the type of oil we usually are confronted, therefore requiring an adaptation of our cleaning techniques.

Furthermore, this disaster occured during the COVID pandemic, complicating the intervention and organization of our team to respect the strict protocol imposed by the Mauritian government.

These specificities represented a great challenge for our company and despite those, which allowed us to perfect our skills, the clean-up operations were carried out within the timeframe initially proposed.

25 July 2020

6 August 2020

11 August 2020

12 August 2020

From 13 to 18 August 2020

Grouding of the MV Wakashio on the coral reef of Pointe d'Esny

Leaks of oil are detected

800 to 1 000 tons of oil are spilled according to Mauritian authorities

Our company Le Floch Dépollution is mandated by the insurers of the ship, the P&I Club Japan, on recommendations of ITOPF to carry out the clean-up operations on the most difficult sites

  • Surveys/Assessments of sites by Le Floch Dépollution and ITOPF teams from Pointe d'Esny to Pointe du Diable as well as the surrounding islands and islets to assess the impact of pollution and define the priority areas.

  • Drafting of the Action Plan in collaboration with the ITOPF, presenting the operations to be carried out

19 August 2020

9 January 2021

End of January 2021

Beginning of the clean-up operations by our teams

Completion of the clean-up operations

Inspection of each site for sign-off of the clean-up operations by the CEDRE

Areas of intervention

Our company has been assigned the areas most impacted by pollution, which are from Pointe Brocus (Rivière des Créoles) to Pointe du Diable (Bambous Virieux), i.e. more than 20 km of linear with various types of substrates.

Different categories of sites

Fringe mangrove

Highly impacted by the oil spill, mangroves are very sensitive ecosystems in which cleaning techniques must be the least aggressive in order not to damage these sites already heavily contaminated. The techniques of "manual collection" and "flooding / rinsing" are the only techniques to use, while minimizing the trampling of these zones by our operators.

Rochy shore

Rocky shores were frequently encountered within the affected area. The techniques employed are manual collection, flushing and when necessary, high-pressure cleaning.

Man-made structures

This include quay walls, piers, boulders and rip-raps. elles que les jetées, enrochements, quais, murs, constructions diverses... For these surfaces, the high pressure cleaning technique has generally been used, which is very effective on this type of substrate. Flushing operations have also proved to be very effective in dislodging the pollutant accumulated between the rocks.

Sand beaches

There were relatively few sand shores within the affected area. Manual collection and flushing operations were employed to recover the oil.

Clean-up techniques

We use different techniques depending on the amount of oil and the nature of the substrate, while respecting biodiversity and constantly seeking to limit the amount of waste generated by the clean-up operations. These techniques have been improved and perfected by our teams along our various experiences in this field. Given their proven effectiveness, we are proud to never use any chemicals, even biodegradable.

Manual collection

First technique to be used in any intervention and on all types of substrates in order to remove accumulations and debris contaminated by the spill. Manual collection is tedious but allows selectivity when recovering the pollutant, thus limiting waste and respecting the environment, unlike mechanical techniques, which are more aggressive.


Technique invented by Le Floch Dépollution during our intervention in Iraq / Kuwait in the early 1990s. It consists of injecting a mixture of seawater and air using a lance into the ground in order to bring the oil trapped in the sediment to the surface or also in the riprap to dislodge the oil. Flushing was mainly used in this incident, in fact, one of the peculiarities of the oil is that it infiltrated the ground very quickly. This complicated our intervention, most of the pollutant being invisible at first glance.


This technique is used in mangroves. Unlike flushing, the lance is not introduced into the sediment and consists of sending a large volume of water at low pressure on the mangroves in order to rinse them and thus remove the oil on the roots or leaves. The roots are therefore not affected or damaged during cleaning operations.

High-pressure cleaning

Once the manual collection phase is over and in the case where additional intervention is required, high pressure cleaning with hot sea water can be used. This technique is very aggressive and is only used on "hard" surfaces with low ecological sensitivity (such as docks, concrete walls, rocks...). It is also very effective for cleaning contaminated wood. The recovery of the pollutant is carried out with sorbents (booms, pads etc...).

Other techniques

Other techniques were used during this operation in very specific places such as mechanical skimming, cleaning of pebbles and gravel with a concrete mixer...


Le Floch Dépollution mobilized a dozen people from France in order to supervise these operations which required the recruitment of more than 400 operators in total with a daily average of 200 operators, all trained by our team of supervisors.

We would like to thank...

We would like to thank all our partners who accompanied us along this operation:

  • ITOPF (Conor BOLAS, Lauren FEAR, Alex HUNT, Franck LARUELLE & Thomas SURGEON), the CSA Surveyors team (Shoichiro MORIMOTO, Ryo KOBAYASHI & Ryu SENGEN) as well as the P&I Club Japan and Vick TAHALOOA for trusting us once again

  • The Mauritian government for welcoming us on this beautiful island and in particular Mr Muhammad Luqman MAGHO for his involvement in our operations.

  • All our operators who worked 6 days a week during 6 months, sometimes in very difficult weather conditions. Without their involvement and motivation, we would not have been able to complete the clean-up operations.

  • The CEDRE (Ivan CALVEZ) for the validation of our work.