TOKYO (Sputnik) – An innovative Japanese ultra-absorbent fibre will be used to clear the oil patch leaked from a wrecked Japanese tanker last month near Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, Yuki Takenoshita, the chief project manager at M-TechX, the company producing the fibre, said on Thursday.
“A group of government experts took our fibre to Mauritius to find out how we can use it on the spot. The supply should be enough to absorb 1,200 litres of fuel or around 1 tonne. The fibre is compact and light — a 30×30 centimetre [12×12 inch] patch weighing 20 grams [0.7 ounces] is enough to absorb one litre [34 ounces]. We sent it as a gratuitous aid,” Takenoshita said.
Magic Fiber was originally designed to be used in restaurants and other food services for the easy disposal of oil waste. Its potential for broader applicability became obvious after authorities used it to clear an industrial fuel leak in the Saga prefecture last year.
According to Takenoshita, the innovative fibre produces little waste. The fibre also prevents repeated pollution of water when it is withdrawn from the accident site as it locks in the absorbed oil. Notably, it absorbs only oil and fuel, leaving the water intact.
Japan’s Wakashio cargo vessel ran aground near Mauritius on July 26 en route from China to Brazil. The wrecked ship leaked some 1,000 tonnes of heavy oil into the ocean off Mauritius, endangering a land and sea conservation area with rare species.
The Mauritian government declared an environmental state of emergency following the incident and demanded that Japan pay $34 million in compensation to local fishermen who were left without the regular source of income.
The Japanese government has vowed long-and medium-term assistance to Mauritius to tackle the consequences of the accident.