The damage to the boat has since ejected polluting garbage in the vicinity, and photos circulating on social media show thick, sticky oils leaking onto water and land.
On Friday, Prime Minister Pravin Jugnath declared a state of environmental emergency. Mauritius is located next to the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, and Jugnauth also appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron for help on Twitter.
Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa’s senior climate and energy campaign manager, warned that the bulk carrier was leaking “tons of diesel and oil into the sea”, and the area’s wildlife were threatened.
Yunus Umarji, a member of the European Parliament from Reunion Island, told CNN that international cooperation was needed to deal with the “ecological disaster”.
“This is a serious environmental crisis and we are not yet aware of all the consequences. It is also terrible for Mauritius, whose economy is based on tourism and is already badly hit by the epidemic,” he told CNN Told.
CNN’s Martin Goilando and Paul P. Murphy contributed reporting.