Media Statement 2: Several beaches re-opened while some are still being cleaned from stranded oil
For Immediate Release
1 December 2022
More than 100 trained individuals are cleaning-up stranded hydrocarbon, low-sulphur fuel oil droplets at more than twenty (20) beaches along the Garden Route. Efforts have resulted in several beaches already moving to green status, which include all the Blue Flag Beaches of Mossel Bay. While assessments found that several others in George, Hessequa, Knysna and Bitou were also affected by the spill, clean-up teams have already responded promptly to remove droplets.
According to Gerhard Otto, GRDM Manager: Disaster Management: “Holiday-goers and residents can be assured that the region is ready for its upcoming holiday season”. “The multi-agency response team indicated that most beaches will be cleaned by the end of this weekend, dependent on the 3.5m swells expected tonight.”
According to Otto, the reconnaissance flight planned for yesterday could not take place due to foggy weather conditions, thus, being postponed to today. The plane is currently flying from Plettenberg Bay to Gouritz along the coastline and will paint a clear picture of any visible patches of oil along the coastline and possibly identify the cause of the spill.
There are cleaning stations at beaches, and areas that need to be cleaned are clearly marked. It has not been reported that human health has been affected. No sightings of sea birds or marine life have been reported either.
Beaches that received green status will be visited again after the predicted 3.5m swell and a north-north-west wind, to ensure that no new wash-up of droplets is prevalent.
An outline of the status of beaches along the Garden Route is listed below.
Footage: Video footage taken during a reconnaissance flight today did not find any large areas where oil spills are visible.
Next update: Another update will be issued tomorrow, 2 December 2022.
If any member of the public notices small black pellets on any beach along the Garden Route, please report it to the Emergency Call Centre, 044 805 5071.
The Garden Route District Municipality Multi-Agency Command Centre (MACC) includes the following stakeholders: Garden Route District Municipality, Bitou, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay and Hessequa Municipalities, Provincial Disaster Management Centre, South African Maritime Safety Authority, DFFE: Oceans-to-Coast, Transnet, CapeNature, PetroSA, South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).