The Tale of a Split Ship
By Ruks Moreea
Over 6 weeks ago, an empty vessel heading from an artificially pristine South East Asian port veered off course for mysterious reasons, on its way to Latin America, to hit the naturally pristine coral reef off the coast of Mauritius. 2 weeks after the crash, heavy fuel gushed out of the distressed vessel to spill into the pristine blue lagoons, affecting & destroying marine life on its way. I could recount the story of this ship, the Wakashio, by only just venting and blaming the owners, the ports, or the authorities for their multiple lacks of environmental consideration, and quite bluntly incompetence at all levels. Instead, I wish to turn this factually sad story of yet another environmental disaster into something more spiritually profound, that make stir the readers.
It is my personal observation and I completely accept that many of you may not view things in the same light. But we are all intellectuals sharing our interesting views of life on this wonderful platform, so here goes. I view this empty ship possibly as the misguided in search of purpose; it veers left and right craving for compassion as it feels disconnected from meaning and truth. In its search, it hits a protective barrier and eventually flounders in despair to spill its darkness around as there is nothing left for it to do. It empties itself in search of clearing but does so without any care or consideration of its immediate environment. Doesn’t it feel so when people are broken and have this urge to scream whilst hurling hurtful words and venom, causing damage to their surrounding environment, family, and friends? Doesn’t it feel so when society feels broken and people march on the streets to be heard?
Now, bringing readers back to the reality of what happened to the Wakashio. In a positive light, the spill was contained by local volunteers, who made makeshift booms with sugar cane leaves and hair to contain the spill and its damaging impact and mitigate further destruction of marine life. Thousands of compassionate people turned up to the coast, putting their healths at risk, for the love of their country and the pristine coasts. Mother Earth and Mother Sea were being cleansed, just as one helps a soul in need. Again, the analogy I would make here is no matter what darkness is thrown onto humanity, we get together as one to fix and shine a light. There is beauty in our ability to come together and no matter how darkness wants to hang on us, men, women, and children stand side by side as shields. We always end up doing the right thing when we ditch our egos and differences. In times of crisis, one gets to know the true nature of human nature. Some will choose to criticise and point fingers behind their screens but the many will physically get together, act and shine. Eventually, the ship was towed away and she split and sunk, just as sometimes our society can be: disconnected and broken .
The collateral damage this time was 40 cetaceans and this time the world was even more outraged. Do we now disconnect so badly with no care of life? Has life become so cheap that we put ourselves in some form of hierarchy? Oh well, no humans lost their lives. Shame about the sea mammals, sea life and natural habitats, but hey we are safe, home and dry. Can our conscience be truly clear with that level of thinking? Ultimately, when do we see us as being part of One Earth, when do we see ourselves as being interconnected. Doesn’t our lack of respect stem from just this? We consider ourselves more superior to one another and often our arrogance breaks delicate human relationships. Ultimately instead of functioning from a space of love and compassion, we function in fear and anger. How dark and heavy, just as the heavy fuel of this vessel.
Reigning readers back to reality and perhaps sharing my humble opinion. The shipping industry and maritime laws will need to do more than just make payments to the suffering and do lip service to NGOs and Green Peace. Once seen as a pain in the neck, these organisations are gaining more momentum as they shine light on industrial malpractices. Ports cannot be left unaccountable as they are ultimately the green light providers for a sailing vessel. Poor maintenance of vessels is everybody’s business. The owners bowed in shame and apologised on TV. Not good enough am afraid. Making band-aid payments: not good enough either. As I write there is another distressed ship in the Indian Ocean and she is a fuel tanker carrying 2 million barrels of crude oil. We cannot simply carry on pretending that all will be fine unless the right actions and measures are taken.
Ultimately it is what humanity is about: to shine light where there is darkness. In the meantime let us pray and hope that such disasters will be no longer be. Let us pray and hope for a better world of non-duality as only then we can build more respect and shine for each and one of us and for Mother Earth.