The recent oil spills in Algoa Bay have had a terrible impact on our endangered African penguins. More than 160 birds, including chicks, heavily soaked in oil, had to be rescued.
These spills highlight the need for added vigilance in ensuring that our maritime laws are adhered to and that rogue vessels do not discharge oil from their bilges into the oceans.
Furthermore, safety measures when transferring oil at sea and in ports must be very strictly complied with.
It appears that Algoa Bay is fast growing as a haven for refuelling and this spillage should serve as a timely warning of even worse disasters that may befall the Bay.
Well done to Samsa (South African Maritime Safety Authority) for quickly imposing a fine of R350 000 on the ship that caused the spillage during the transfer of oil. This money should be channelled to those voluntary organisations such as Samrec, and to Sanccob and its facility at Cape St Francis to enable them to continue doing their amazing work in rescuing and rehabilitating these iconic birds.
These African penguins are one of Algoa Bay’s most treasured assets.
Well done to all those involved in their rescue.