Cape Town. 010912. Children plays on Blouberg Strand after the Seli ship spilled oil onto the beach after heavy storms the previous night. Picture Leon Lestrade. Story Junior Bester.

Johannesburg - Rescue efforts were under way on Sunday for several penguins that were oiled in Cape Town’s waters off Robben Island, the City of Cape Town said on Sunday.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, the spokesperson for the Disaster Risk Management Centre, said officials spotted at least five oiled birds and began rescue efforts.

“One of the penguins has been captured and will be transported to the Southern African Foundation for Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob) in Table View, “ said Solomons-Johannes.

Efforts were under way to capture the other four, but it remains unclear whether more birds could have been affected.

“It is not clear how seriously the birds are oiled, however veterinarians will assess the birds and determine where they should be released.”

It is believed the oil comes from a vessel offshore between Cape Town Harbour and Robben Island.

The vessel has been identified as the Seli 1.

“We have requested Transnet National Ports Authority of South Africa to assist in breaking up the oil slick at sea to prevent any further pollution of seabirds and to ensure that vessels in the area are not affected,” added Solomons-Johannes. - Sapa