Slicky situation is under control

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oil cleanup done 329 INLSA Disaster management clean up the oil on Table View beachfront after the Seli 1 broke up. Photo: Henk Kruger

Mop-up operations continued on Blouberg beach on Monday after the Seli 1 wreck oil spill at the weekend.

The city’s disaster management reported that the situation was under control and that the clean-up should be completed by tomorrow, if all goes according to plan.

On Friday, bad weather caused the Seli 1 wreck off Bloubergstrand to split apart, spilling oil into the water. A similar scenario led to an oil spill from the wreck a year ago.

“The worst affected areas were 800m of coastline at Dolphin Beach and 500m at Rietvlei. We deployed additional resources which included graders to scoop up oil-logged sand, contract labourers and trucks to remove the waste,” said Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, spokesman for the city’s disaster management.

“We have been pleased to report that the oil slick in the ocean has largely been broken up (naturally dispersed).”

Transnet’s National Ports Authority were also called to assist.

“Our work boat went out to do an assessment to transport crew for deployment of a boom around the Seli 1. We have in addition deployed pollution teams assisting with the beach clean-up. Also, to prevent oil from entering the Milnerton lagoon, deploying a boom to secure the in-flow,” said National Ports Authority spokesman Coen Birkenstock.

“At this stage it is challenging to establish how long this operation will take, we are committed to assist as long as practically possible.”

Aerial surveillance supported by the Department of Environmental Affairs confirmed that the coastlines at Cape Town Harbour and Robben Island seemed to be out of danger for the moment, said Feroza Albertus-Stanley, the department’s environmental officer.

“We have spanned a boom around Milnerton lagoon as a precautionary measure against oil entering [the estuary],” Albertus-Stanley said.

“As it turns out, the oil slick did not threaten the lagoon. Tomorrow the surveillance aircraft will take another flight to assess the situation, but for now it seems to be under control.”

Meanwhile, the city engaged with the Transport Department and enquired about the prospect of securing R40 million (the estimated cost of removing the Seli 1 wreck) from the national Treasury. The decision whether or not to award the money will be made by the cabinet in two weeks.

“A source inside the department seems confident that the money will be awarded. The department has also expressed its willingness to start a wreck removal as a matter of priority when this money becomes available,” Solomons-Johannes said.

After consecutive attempts on Sunday and on Monday, the Cape Argus was unable to get comment from the Transport Department.

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Cape Argus


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