The Daily Dispatch E-Edition


Eastern Cape marine life faces seismic blasting catastrophe


Big Oil has come to the Wild Coast.

Shell has announced it will start a seismic survey in search of oil or gas deposits from Morgan Bay to Port St Johns on December 1.

Activists, scientists and ocean users have reacted with horror.

They say the vessel operated by Shell Exploration and Production SA’S hirelings, Shearwater Geoservices, will, for five months, drag up to 48 air guns methodically through 6,011km² of ocean surface, firing huge sonic booms through 3km of water and 40km into the Earth’s crust below the seabed.

Provincial economic development and environmental affairs spokesperson Ncedo Lisani declined to speak and referred questions to the national water & sanitation department, whose spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said: “We only work with water on land, not at sea.

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

“The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries would be more suited to respond to your questions.”

Shell’s SA consultant, Eloise Costandius of Johannesburgbased SLR, said questions were sent to the oil giant, but it would not be able to respond within the “time frame”.

East London Museum principal scientist Kevin Cole is deeply concerned about the effect of the survey on marine wildlife and ecosystems, saying there had been a number of recent communication it received from the company and its agents was about an environmental plan.

She said the air guns fired blasts of up to 220 decibels — similar to the deafening roar of a space rocket blasting off the government to make green statements at climate summits about reducing emissions, while back at home the oil and gas industry was being given a free hand.

Activists in the film said it was untenable for the minerals & Cape and Namibia had resulted from seismic exploration.

International activists questioned why Shell was promoting “nature-based solutions” publicly, yet carrying on with damaging offshore oil and gas surveys on the sensitive Wild survey invasive, destructive and “stupid” in an era that was moving towards renewable, fossil-free energy.

“All the whales and dolphins, will f*** off. Seismic blasting has a dreadful, dreadful impact on the ocean.”

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