After Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and local environmentalists confirmed that most of the remaining fuel on a cracked ship stranded about a mile off the island nation\u0026#039;s coast had been removed, wildlife experts on Thursday reiterated warnings that significant damage has already been done by the vessel spilling over 1,000 tonnes of oil into Indian Ocean.\u0022Make no mistake, the damage that has been done already is substantial.\u0022—Jean Hugue Gardenne, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation\u0022Today we can confirm that there is just a small amount of oil left on the ship. We are not threatened with an even worse disaster,\u0022 Jean Hugue Gardenne, communications manager for the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, a local nonprofit, told the Associated Press on Thursday.\u0022However, make no mistake, the damage that has been done already is substantial. There is considerable clean-up work that must be done urgently,\u0022 Gardenne said. \u0022The damage to the coral reefs may be irreversible.\u0022\u0022The amount of oil that was spilled in the area may seem relatively small, but it hit at a very sensitive part of our island,\u0022 he explained. \u0022Our coral reefs, the mangrove areas, a marine protected area, four small islands. All these have been contaminated by the oil.\u0022Mauritius, located east of the African continent, is a \u0022biodiverisity hotspot\u0022 and its surrounding waters are home to 1,700 species. The oil spill occurred \u0022near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems and the Blue Bay Marine Park reserve, which is a wetland of international importance,\u0022 BBC News reported Thursday.\u0022There are very few such marine areas with such rich biodiversity left on the planet. An oil spill like this will impact almost everything there,\u0022 Corina Ciocan, a senior lecturer in marine biology at the United Kingdom\u0026#039;s University of Brighton, told the BBC.\u0022It is not just about the light oil slick you see on the surface of the water caused by the spill,\u0022 Ciocan said. \u0022There will also be soluble compounds from the oil that will dissolve in the water, a mousse-like layer underneath the surface of the water, and then very heavy residues on the bed—so the entire marine ecosystem will be affected.\u0022Heartbreaking:\u0022The toxic hydrocarbons released from spilled oil will bleach the coral reefs and they will eventually die,\u0022 said Professor Richard Steiner, an international oil spill adviser and a marine biologist in Alaska, US.https://t.co/SSaonEuO5S— Lisa Frank (@LisaKFrank1) August 13, 2020The MV Wakashio—a vessel owned by Nagashiki Shipping and operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, both based in Japan—ran aground on a coral reef near Mauritius on July 25 while carrying an estimated 4,000 tonnes of oil.The ship started leaking oil last week, and efforts to remove the fuel that remained onboard ramped up Monday amid fears that the MV Wakashio may break in two.In addition to telling reporters Wednesday that \u0022almost all the oil has been removed from the ship,\u0022 Jugnauth said that his government will seek compensation from the ship\u0026#039;s owner for the environmental damage.The company, Nagashiki Shipping, said Thursday that \u0022it felt its responsibility acutely and intends to take steps towards assessing compensation,\u0022 according to Reuters.Environmental advocacy groups across the globe, including Greenpeace and 350.org, have responded to the spill by demanding not only international aid for the clean-up efforts but also an end to fossil fuels.Greenpeace Africa\u0026#039;s communications director, Tal Harris, told the AP on Thursday that \u0022we know this disaster will have significant effects on biodiversity in Mauritius.\u0022\u0022There needs to be a detailed and urgent survey of the damage done and a monitoring program to see what can recover and how quickly, and how much residual oil sticks around in the long term,\u0022 Harris said.Along with the environmental impact, the oil spill is taking an economic toll on Mauritius—which is notably dependent on tourism and was already facing difficulties on that front due to the coronavirus pandemic.\u0022It is really going to affect the communities down there, especially for the fisherman, the local guys that live there, you know that\u0026#039;s how they make money from tourists,\u0022 Willow River-Tonkin, who owns a kite-surfing business, told Reuters of the area around the spill.\u0022Taking them out to go diving, to go snorkeling, to go wakeboarding, to go see dolphins, and all that sort of thing you know, and all of that is going to affect it, if we don\u0026#039;t get it under control very soon,\u0022 River-Tonkin warned.