Shell has been slammed after it posted notification of a seismic survey to begin on December 1, in the Eastern Cape. File picture.
Shell has been slammed after it posted notification of a seismic survey to begin on December 1, in the Eastern Cape. File picture.

Environmental organisation slams Shell notification of seismic survey in the Eastern Cape

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Nov 16, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - An environmental organisation has urged South Africans to sign a petition against Shell’s notification of a seismic survey to be conducted in the Eastern Cape from December 1.

Oceans Not Oil is a network that facilitates and supports any public voice raised against the impacts of escalating reconnaissance/ prospecting activities in the form of seismic surveys and exploration wells on the coast of South Africa and their consequence to marine life and climate change.

The organisation posted a notice by SLR Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd on behalf of Shell Exploration and Production South Africa. It further stated Shell has appointed Shearwater GeoServices to perform a 3D seismic survey within its Transkei Exploration Area off the East Coast of South Africa from December 1.

It said the survey would cover an area approximately 6 011 km² located between Port St Johns and Morgans Bay.

According to Eloise Costandius from SLR Consulting, the survey area is located more than 20 km from the coast at its closest point in water depths ranging between 700 and 3 000 m. She said it is anticipated that the seismic survey would take in the order of four to five months to complete, depending on weather and current conditions.

Oceans Not Oil also posted the notification posted by Shell in a local Eastern Cape newspaper.

The organisation has since launched an online petition to stop the seismic survey that has since gone viral on all social media platforms via change.org.

Oceans Not Oil said should this survey go ahead, for the next five months, 48 air guns will methodically drag up through 6,011km² of ocean surface, firing extremely loud shock wave emissions that penetrate through 3km of water and 40km into the Earth’s crust below the seabed.

It said the ship conducting the survey would be firing air guns every 10 seconds, and this process would only amount to panic and damage to marine life along the Wild Coast.

“Many sea creatures could be affected in the coming months — whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, sharks and even crabs and tiny shellfish will be blasted,” the organisation said.

Oceans Not Oil has stated that Shell needs to answer for how the harms done during this survey and any exploration drilling done thereafter are part of its energy transition plan to control global warming.

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