An ecological disaster was averted on Saturday afternoon when the Mossel Bay Municipality Fire and Disaster Management Services were alerted to a strong diesel smell and diesel on the beach and in the ocean at Voorbaai.
A member of the public, Ivor van Zyl alerted S.M.A.R.T (Stranded Marine Animal Rescue Team) about the incident at 15:35, reports Mossel Bay Advertiser.
Quick response and excellent communication between the Municipality and PetroSA resulted in berms being built on the beach to prevent further spillage.
“A leak in the feedstock pipeline in the vicinity of the PetroSA’s Voorbaai Tankfarm has resulted in the spillage of some condensate (feedstock) at the Bayview Beach,” Tumoetsile Mogamisi, a spokesperson for PetroSA confirmed to the Mossel Bay Advertiser.
“PetroSA immediately activated emergency response procedures including activating Joint Operations Centre (JOC) and reported the incident to the local Municipality’s Environmental authorities, and together they managed to speedily isolate the spill. PetroSA Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (H-SEQ) team and other responsible personnel are on the scene.”
To allow for the effective clean up of the affected areas, the beach remains closed to the public between Hartenbos and Bayview.
“The beach was closed to the public to allow emergency crews to effectively deal with the situation,” Adv Thys Giliomee Mossel Bay Municipal Manager said.
The leak has since been isolated. PetroSA emergency crews arrived at the scene to take over from the municipal emergency crew. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) was also on the scene.
It seemed to be a very large spill, with contamination clearly visible on the beach.
“Condensate shimmer is visible on the ocean surface and the current is pushing the remaining product towards Hartenbos.
“Bayview and Hartenbos beaches are being closed as a result of the contamination and the public are asked to keep away from the area while the mopping up of the area is underway,” the Municipality said in a press release.
If any stranded marine animals or seabirds are seen, please contact S.M.A.R.T at 072 227 4715 immediately.