Cape oil spill continues
SPRING got off to a slippery and toxic start in Cape Town when oil spilled from an abandoned bulk carrier which ran aground almost three years ago.
Yesterday morning the city's disaster response teams resumed cleanup operations along the Table Bay coastline after bad weather conditions scuppered attempts on Saturday.
According to Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, from the city's Disaster Risk Management Centre, "strong winds and big swells" broke the Seli 1 in three. By yesterday afternoon he said "much of the oil spotted over the weekend had been cleared".
Thus far 15 oiled penguins have been captured and are being retreated by Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.
"The city's disaster response teams are working closely with the department of environmental affairs in order to remove the oil from the coastline," said Solomons-Johannes.
City officials were also set to meet with the department of transport to discuss having the wreckage - which hit South African shores on September 7 2009 - removed. It is estimated that R40-million is needed to do so.
The department submitted a request to National Treasury for funding and the matter will come before Cabinet this month.
The Turkish-owned carrier ran aground with more than 600 tons of fuel and 30000t of coal on board. All of her 25 crew were rescued. But thanks to poor international shipping regulations, the owner has been able to wash his hands of the mess.
A year ago Sobantu Tilayi, executive head of operations for the South African Maritime Authority, said South African law was unclear as to who would be held accountable.
"To answer your question whose responsibility is it to dispose of the ship, South African law is very unclear on that because there is no one entity that is charged with wreck disposal," said Tilayi at the time.
The Democratic Alliance's Pieter van Dalen lashed out at Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
Van Dalen said the "oil spill disaster should have been avoided. The devastating effects of a kilometre-long oil slick near Blaauwberg could have been prevented if Joemat-Pettersson did her job instead of sowing institutional dysfunction in her department."