Letter: Funds may be used for penguin rehabilitation

The letter, “Safeguard our penguins by being vigilant” (August 31), refers. The fine referred to is an “admission of contravention” in terms of the Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act No 2 of 1986.

The monies received are deposited into the Maritime Fund, this is managed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa), but is controlled by the minister of transport. In terms of the Samsa Act application to the minister can be made only for the purpose of furthering the objectives of the authority, in this case this would be “to prevent and combat pollution of the marine environment by ships”.

The rehabilitation of wildlife would therefore be considered.

The spill from the refuelling operation was approximately 100l and was cleaned up immediately. Although we are still awaiting the outcome of the testing of samples taken, Samsa strongly believes that this was not the source of the oil on the penguins.

Some two days after this spill a large oil slick was found in the bay and additional slicks were noted further down the coast as far as Jeffreys Bay. Our investigation identified a vessel on passage to Cape Town that had pumped oily waste into the sea over a stretch of approximately 120 nautical miles through a faulty oily water separator.

The Turkish-owned, Panamanian-registered bulk carrier was subsequently detained in Cape Town as being unseaworthy – R127 000 admission of contravention – and illegal discharge of oily waste – R375 000 admission of contravention. Furthermore the owners, through their insurers, were required to lodge an undertaking of R1-million to reimburse those parties that reacted to the spill, which would include the cleaning of penguins.

The ship was only released from detention when all monies had been deposited.

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