Penguins captured for cleaning

Johannesburg - Thirty-seven African penguins caught in an oil slick in Cape Town have been captured to be cleaned up, the city said on Monday.

Two chicks were found abandoned on Robben Island, disaster risk management centre spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said in a statement.

The beach at Bloubergstrand, near Cape Town, was fouled by oil after strong winds and big swells broke the wreck of the Seli 1 into three pieces last week. Photo: Leon Lestrade. Credit: Independent Newspapers

The birds and the chicks would be taken to the South African Foundation for Conservation of Coastal Birds in Table View. The chicks would be hand-reared for three months before being released.

The oil leaked from the wreckage of the Turkish bulk carrier MV Seli 1, which ran aground off Bloubergstrand in September 2009.

The city appealed to the Transport Department to remove the wreck from the coastline.

Anyone who found polluted seabirds could contact the city's disaster operations centre on 080-911-4357 or the foundation on 021-557-6155.

Aerial surveillance indicated that much of the oil seen leaking from the vessel at the weekend had been cleared up. - Sapa