Pretoria: 24 May 2022
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it will launch an investigation into an oil spillage incident that occurred on Monday in Algoa Bay near the port of Ngqurha on the eastern seaboard of South Africa.
According to SAMSA, the oil spillage incident occurred during a bunkering service or ‘ship-to-ship’ oil transfer, at about midday on Monday.
The extent of the oil spillage could not be immediately determined, however said SAMSA, the country’s oceans oil spillage incident management structure had been mobilised and had begun on Monday to try and contain the spread of the oil.
Initially deployed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) are two anti-pollution craft vessels to assist with containment of the spill, as well patrol boats by South African National Parks (SANParks) along the coastline.
Meanwhile, all bunkering operations were suspended to ensure proper coordination of the spill’s containment effort’s effectiveness and efficiencies.
In a brief statement in Pretoria on Tuesday, said SAMSA: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has initiated all relevant oil spill response teams as per the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to assist with the containment and cleanup operation following an oil spill In Algoa Bay yesterday.
“The oil spill occurred on the 23rd (Monday) at around midday during a ship-to-ship transfer of oil. All the relevant pollution response units have been activated, and booms deployed to contain the oil around the vessels.
“The collecting of oil continued throughout the night last night (23 May). The 2 vessels will remain attached to help with the containment of the oil. All relevant authorities including the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) and are supporting the response where possible,” said SAMSA.
Regarding the threat to wild sea birds in the area, SAMSA confirmed that the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) was already on a “high state of readiness to receive oiled birds,” and urged the public to to report any oiled wildlife to SANPARKS.
SAMSA further reported that shortly after the incident was report to authorities; “SAMSA officials boarded the vessels to inspect the extent of the spill.
In addition, SAMSA would further conduct an aerial survey of the coastal area on Tuesday morning and further information would be shared with the public periodically.