Mystery spill pollutes harbour

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The Mercury

A clean-up crew works on containing a chemical spill in Durban harbour, near the Bluff Yacht Club, yesterday. Picture: Terry HAywood.

Durban - An oil and chemical pollution crew rushed to contain a chemical spill in Durban’s harbour on Sunday.

Bluff Yacht Club members contacted authorities when they noticed an oily film on the surface of the water near the club. It is unknown what the substance was or how much of it had leaked into the water

.

“Any substance, in excess, could be toxic, but we have not seen any dead fish or marine life,” said one of the crew.

“Some birds were covered in the stuff, but once they went into the water, it appeared to wash off.”

The crew worked through the afternoon, using an absorbent and booms, to contain most of the substance.

It was unclear who was responsible for the spill, but it was believed to haved that it originated from a factory in Jacobs

. Samples of the water were taken for testing. These tests were expected to identify the substance and the party responsible for the spill.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town, an oil slick, eight nautical miles long, has spread from the wreck of the Seli 1 in Table Bay. On Dolphin Beach the sand is polluted for a kilometre.

Police and city law enforcement officers have closed the beach and ordered paddlers and surfers out of the water.

Port officials have instructed ships anchored in the bay to move further out to sea.

The city’s Disaster Risk Management Centre and the Department of Environmental Affairs asked the Transnet National Ports Authority for help in breaking up the oil slick.

Although most of the 660 tons of fuel was removed after the ship ran aground in September 2009, it had not been possible for salvors to remove all of it. - The Mercury


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