Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries responds to oil spill in Algoa Bay

06 July 2019

 

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries was notified of an oil spill that took place in Algoa Bay in the early hours of this morning, Saturday 6 July 2019. The incident took place at approximately 04h40 this morning during offshore bunkering operations in Anchorage 1 of the Port of Nqura.

It was reported that approximately 200 to 400 litres of fuel from the receiving vessel MV Chrysanthi S, flag state Liberia, was spilled into the sea as a result of overflow during the fuel transfer.  SA Marine Fuels proceeded to dispatch a commercial oil spill response service provider to mitigate and contain the spread of the spill.

This incident is currently considered a Tier 1 level incident which does not require intervention from the national authorities as local resources are sufficient. The department will provide assistance if the incident escalates and requires it.

Current weather conditions in Algoa bay is hindering operations, which include wildlife assessments however, the situation has been reported to be managed and under control. The oil is not expected to reach the coast and currently moving in an offshore direction. Transnet National Ports Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and other environmental bodies have been notified and are monitoring the situation along with our department.

The Department is responsible for matters relating to the combatting of oil pollution at sea under Section 52(1) of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act. Specific arrangements and tactics for responding to incidents are contained in a suite of local oil spill contingency plans managed by the department. A contingency plan is in place for the Diaz Zone (Algoa Bay) and the Department will activate it should it be determined that oil is likely to wash ashore.

An Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg), consisting of various stakeholders including this department, has been established through Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy to address South Africa's oil spill response capability in the marine environment. The IMOrg hosted an oil spill exercise in November 2018 testing the response capability in Algoa Bay and is also keeping a close watch of the incident circumstances and status.

For media queries contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871