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Samsa suspends oil bunkering after spill in Algoa Bay

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The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) has launched an investigation into an oil spill in Algoa Bay near the port of Ngqurbha.

The spill happened during a ship-to-ship oil transfer on 23 May. Both vessels involved in the incident belong to the same company, Minerva Bunkering – a ship-to-ship oil transfer company. An oil spill management structure was put in place on the same day to contain the spill.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) sent two anti-pollution vessels to help, as well as patrol boats from South African National Parks (SANParks).

All ship-to-ship oil transfers in Algoa Bay are suspended until further notice. The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob) is on high alert for any oiled sea birds.

‘No oiled birds or wildlife have been spotted so far. However, members of the public are requested to report such (sightings) to SANParks or Sanccob Gqeberha at Cape Recife Nature Reserve on 063 942 4702, but not to approach or try to capture the affected wildlife,’ Samsa said in a statement.

Samsa has also been doing aerial surveys of the coastal area twice a day since 25 May to keep an eye on the spill.

Although the precise quantity and what caused the spill remains unknown, Samsa further said that ‘Oil spill modelling provided by the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation indicates that the oil will not impact the Swartkops River nor (Nelson Mandela Bay) Metro beaches, but will drift eastward towards the beaches of Woody Cape. Beach inspections were carried out on Tuesday and will continue today.’

Picture: Getaway Gallery

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