File picture: Pixabay

Port Elizabeth - The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has launched a probe to look into why up to 400 litres of oil spilt into the ocean off Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning while a vessel was being refuelled.

Between 200 and 400 litres of oil spilled in the Port of Ngqura 20km north east of Port Elizabeth at around 4.40am on Saturday morning while bunkering services company, SA Marine Fuels, was refuelling the MV Chrysanthi S.

It is believed the cause of the accident was overflow.

SA Marine Fuels immediately activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain the oil spread.

SAMSA and other authorities will conduct a check of the beaches and islands off Port Elizabeth on Monday to confirm that the oil will not reach land, says acting SAMSA CEO Sobantu Tilayi.

“SAMSA will conduct a comprehensive investigation into this unfortunate incident. While responsibility for preventing pollution by ships at sea no longer resides with SAMSA but with the Department of Environmental Affairs, we take our role as the custodian of the country’s maritime affairs and for promoting South Africa’s maritime economy extremely seriously.

“We know the impact that an oil spill can have, from the marine wildlife affected to the people who earn their living from the sea and the local economy, and we will do everything in our power not only to ensure that the impact of this spill are contained, but also to ensure that it never happens again,” Tilayi adds.

IOL