Ricochet News

Oiled Penguins rescued in Algoa Bay following oil spillage

Jul 9, 2019
Oiled Penguins rescued in Algoa Bay following oil spillage

Port Elizabeth - Oiled Penguins have been found at St Croix Island following an apparent 400-litre oil spill during a bunkering process in Algoa Bay over the weekend.

"We headed out into Algoa Bay on Monday with a boat full of tourists. We had heard of an oil spill on Saturday 6th July, so we kept our eyes peeled for any oiled penguins,"  said Lloyd Edwards, owner of Raggy Charters and The Baywatch Project.

"We did not have to wait long, as when we arrived at St Croix Island, SANParks Rangers were already on the island catching oiled birds.

"Four were taken aboard their vessel and another two managed to escape into the sea. A further three oiled birds were reported from Bird Island.

"They will be collected when weather conditions allow. Pretty k*k at the moment."

Bunkering blamed for the oil spill

Edwards explained that Algoa Bay was identified as a safe place to transfer oil from tankers to passing ships while out at sea - also called bunkering.

"The tankers anchor here while transfer vessels take oil from them to passing ships. That way they do not have to pay exorbitant port fees," he added.

"The question begs, to save money should ships be able to transfer oil when the local wildlife is at risk? They will always tell you how safe the operation is, but this is the second big one since they started operations in our bay.

"Local companies responsible for the transfers are making a killing. How many more oil spills will the penguins have to endure before we tell them all to make a better plan?"

He said that althoughauthorities claimed that 200 to 400 litres were spilled as a result of overflow during an oil transfer, first-on-the-scene witnesses claimed that this was under estimated.

"They also claimed that they had a contingency plan in place should any oil reach the shore. Hello, when it reaches the shore it is of little threat to marine life. It is only when it is adrift that marine life gets contaminated and dies a horrible death."

Edwards said that Raggy Charters will be out again and will provide an update on what they find.

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