Wakashio, what next?

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If you just woke up, well, you might as well go back to bed as if you won’t get any answers to your questionings, you surely won’t get any constructive proposals to the post Wakashio disaster ever. 

Two weeks later, we are still left with black-spots in the story, what was this ship doing so close to our shores? (I mean the real reason), Why did the onboard crew not respond when contacted? Why wasn’t the fuel pumped immediately, etc etc…. 

It is now clear that this whole issue was mishandled since day one, moreover that we ain’t getting any credible explanations to clear out the confusion but are diving deep into the golden age of nonsense now that the Wakashio crisis already turned into another colorful political warfare. 

 But well, guys, it’s done, the wrong is done.  Now let’s move on. For sure those responsible will have to be held accountable but It is also time to let go of the all criticism approach and settle down to think on how to deal with the aftermath of this catastrophe. 

Fortunately, the whole population and the world through information sharing and crowdfunding are standing together to help and try cleaning up this whole mess in a laudable endeavour to save our marine biodiversity. However, the consequences of this oil spill not only on the environment but also on the already weakened economy might strike hard. 

One should not forget that we are still dealing with the Covid-19 realities and its persistent consequences on nearly all the major sectors of the economy contributing to GDP. Economic contraction is still expected, unemployment is still set to stay on the rise and tourism is now facing a double blow with one of our main tourist attraction glued in fuel. 

While the Maldives are working on their rebranding and the Seychelles still have their crystal blue lagoons, to what extent will this oil spill coupled to global border closures affect our tourism industry? What about the FDI flows in real estate in this compromised area? What about the threat to the value of land and properties in the region? 

Tourism accounts for 24 non-negligible percent of GDP while hospitality accounts for about 41 000 jobs. How do we mitigate the Covid-19-Wakashio ripple effect on this sector already suffering a 70% contraction? How do we reassure our foreign partners and investors? What’s up with MK? 

Maybe it’s now time to stop the ‘I know better, I would have done better’ stand and come up with constructive proposals. Maybe it’s now time to let go of the misplaced egos and share all the helpful information so we can all work together in getting out of this dire situation. 

We are not the first country to face such a disaster. Remember the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Let’s check it out. It was then described as being the largest oil spill in history in 2010. Already back then it was expected that this tragedy could cost the U.S. coastal economies $22.7 billion over a period of three years, directly affecting tourism. 

Now, what about us? What do we forecast the Wakashio impact to be? Most importantly, how do we deal with this? 

Economic issues set aside, what about the long term impacts on the marine ecosystem? How do we get out of this mayhem with the least possible casualties?  

Our know-it-all camera fans could maybe enlighten us with their brilliant ideas? 

Anyone? 

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