NAIROBI, Kenya

A Japanese ship split in two Saturday after it ran aground last month in Mauritius and spilled oil, according to officials, who noted the vessel has leaked additional oil.

Most of the oil had already been siphoned with government records showing of the 4,180 tons that were on board, 3,184 tons were pumped out while 800 tons spilled into the sea since the accident July 25.

The accident caused the worst ecological disaster in Mauritius history,

Satellite images showed oil spreading in protected waters full of exotic and endangered flora and fauna.

Mauritius deployed response teams that set up barriers to help in the cleanup if the ship was to split apart, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said in a televised briefing.

The government deployed 1,800 meters (1 mile) of dams to protect the Blue-Ray Marine Park whose main attraction is a 1,000-year-old brain coral.

The park also features one of the world’s beautiful coral gardens that is home to turtles, the scrawled butterflyfish, nudibranchs and other varieties of flora and fauna.

Nearly four kilometers (2.5 miles) of dams have been set up to protect Pointe-d’Esny village, the Mahebourg seafront which is famous among tourists and a lagoon area surrounding the grounded ship.

The national crisis committee said Saturday that a team from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF) has started towing part of the ship, taking precautions to prevent further pollution, according to the Le Mauricien newspaper.

Copyright 2021 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.