WAKASHIO OIL SPILL – PROMOTING COORDINATION BETWEEN SOCIAL PARTNERS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THE OIL CONTAINMENT OPERATION
Public Affairs/Strategic Communication/Crisis Communication
Situation – Oil containment operation
The MV Wakashio wrecked on the reefs in the south eastern part of the island. After numerous days of being stuck on the reefs, one of the petrol tanks was torn open, and approximately 800m3 poured into the lagoon: the first oil spill in the history of Mauritius, in a lagoon with an island dedicated to preservation and a marine park.
Numerous NGOs and members of civil society prompted into emergency oil spill response actions, with coast guards, police and other professionals also doing so.
Maluti’s Consulting role
We were contacted by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) to immediately assist them:
- In their appointment as coordinators of communication with NGOs and civil society wanting to assist in the oil spill response.
- With the coordination of teams who could support the MTPA in the supply of up-to-date and transparent information/images to the MTPA’s B-to-B partners overseas with the future aim of rehabilitating the image of Mauritius as a destination once the spill was contained. Some of the sub-contracted teams were: Social media managers, website developers, designers, video producers and photographers.
- This was to be done until the arrival of oil spill response professional teams who would take over the coordination with relevant private stakeholders.
To rally energies and potentially find improved solutions in an exceptionally strained and urgent situation, we proposed to add to the small group of NGOs who had started the initial response:
- Other NGOs involved in coastal/lagoon/marine life work.
- Representatives of the private sector.
From day-1, the first joint committee convened and an improved coordination ensued.
- Connection of the corporate or NGO volunteers to an overseas professional oil spill response professional who gave initial advice on, e.g. how to protect untouched mangrove.
- Assistance for the presence of NGOs and private sector in the National Disaster Crisis Committee and wherever it was essential for them to be present so as to access first-hand and transparent information.
- Coordination of teams to build a pool of up-to-date and unfiltered images to be shared primarily with MTPA partners, and kept for future reference.
- Assistance in coordination of registration of volunteers.
After the initial response, this coordination technical role was incrementally passed on to the UN oil professional team.