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2 December 2022 Media Statement 3: Beach monitoring and clean-up activities continue along the Garden Route coastline

Media Statement 3: Beach monitoring and clean-up activities continue along the Garden Route coastline

For Immediate Release
2 December 2022

Clean-up operations will continue over the weekend. Feedback received during a multi-agency response session this morning about the stranded hydrocarbon, low-sulphur oil droplets, indicates that we are nearing the end of the incident. Along the Garden Route beaches, the windy conditions and high-impact swells have yielded little to no new oil droplets.

According to Gerhard Otto, GRDM Manager: Disaster Management, it is important to note that there are manual and natural clean-ups of beaches. With this, it is meant that within three days, the droplets will no longer be visible to the naked eye, depending on their size.

There have been no reports of the spill affecting humans, birds, or marine life. According to Dr Nina Viljoen, Head of Environmental Management at GRDM, no estuaries along the Garden Route have been contaminated. Nevertheless, continuous assessments will be conducted over the weekend, responders will be on standby, and monitoring will take place for any further evidence of oil contamination. In the multi-agency response engagement, it was stressed that monitoring of birds would be extended if the response was scaled down since it is difficult to catch flying birds.

In collaboration with the municipality’s Geographic Information System Unit, GRDM Disaster Management developed an interactive map showing beach colour codes in real-time. This platform can be accessed here.

The current status of beaches is included below:

Next update: Another update will be issued tomorrow, 5 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).