Zigzag surfing competition cancelled after sewage leak at Durban Harbour

The decision to cancel the event was made for the safety of the surfers and event staff, with organisers saying the contamination also poses a serious threat to marine life.

The Zigzag Durban Surf Pro, set to take place from May 10 to 12 at Durban Beachfront, was cancelled due to a sewage leak at Durban harbour, reports Berea Mail.

World Surf League (WSL) Africa operations manager Colin Fitch said the extent of the contamination poses a serious health risk and threat to the marine life alongside the marina and along the beachfront.

He said the WSL, the global sanctioning body for professional surfing, and the organisers of the City Surf Series (CSS), took the decision to cancel the event for the safety of the surfers and event staff.

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“It was not an easy call to make, and we looked at many alternatives. We need to maintain the safety standards associated with an international sports event and we have the support of Surfing South Africa, the national surfing federation, on this call,” said Fitch.

The Zigzag Durban Surf Pro would have been stop number four of eight on the 2019 WSL Africa Tour and the third CSS event of the year.

The City Surf Series organisers are looking to add another event to the 2019 calendar to ensure that the surfers do not miss out on the opportunity to earn valuable points on the Qualifying Series (QS) rankings for the year.

Acting Port Manager from Transnet National Ports Authority Nokuzola Nkowane said the severe sewage discharge within the Port of Durban stems from the failure of pumps at the municipality’s Mahatma Gandhi Pump Station.

“Given the potential threat of infection to diving personnel, we have taken the decision to suspend all diving operations within the Port of Durban, and to prohibit all angling activity until further notice. The municipality has taken the pumps out of commission and is currently awaiting the arrival of spare parts from overseas for repairs to be effected,” said Nkowane.

She said Transnet’s environmental department was engaging with the municipality, and is appealing to port users for their cooperation as the City acts to repair the pumps.

“Transnet’s environmental department and pollution control teams are working hard to clear the port’s surface, which was already negatively affected by the large volume of plastic waste and vegetation which made its way into the port after the recent heavy rains and flooding in the region. The port is unfortunately on the receiving end of the large volume of litter, effluent and sewage that was discharged via the stormwater reticulation system from a catchment area of over 200 square kilometers in size,” said Nkowane.

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