Shell’s seismic blasting plan along Wild Coast under fire

Air guns will fire loud shock-wave emissions that could potentially be harmful to marine life in the area. File photo.
Image: Lesley Rochat

Multinational oil and gas company Shell has made public its plan to start a seismic survey in search for oil or gas deposits along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape next month.

In a public notice published in local newspapers, Shell Exploration and Production SA said it had appointed Shearwater GeoServices “to commence with a three-dimensional seismic survey within its Transkei exploration area … from the earliest on December 1.”

The survey will cover an area of about 6,011km2 located roughly between Port St Johns and Morgan’s Bay.

“It is anticipated that the seismic survey would take in the order of four to five months to complete, depending on weather and current conditions.”

It is understood that air guns will fire loud shock-wave emissions that could potentially be harmful to marine life in the area.

The announcement has drawn outrage from environmental activists and the public.

Oceans Not Oil, which describes itself as the SA public’s voice against offshore oil and gas development, has started a petition campaign on Change.org which has garnered over 12,000 signatures to stop the survey.

The DA on Thursday called on forestry, fisheries and environmental minister Barbara Creecy “to urgently re-evaluate the consent she has given for the seismic blasting in the ocean along the Wild Coast.

“We share the grave concerns of civil society and residents regarding the proposed plans for blasting in the area.

“The blasting could have a devastating impact on local marine life, including the numerous whale species that frequent the area. It is likely that some of these whales will be calving during this period.”

BYSuthentira Govender

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