City Ensures moving of Ship Wreck!
As a direct result of continuous engagement and pressure from the City of Cape Town, the National Department of Transport has submitted a request to National Treasury to seek funding estimated in the amount of R40 million, based on the calculations conducted last year, to salvage the wreckage of the SELI 1. The Turkish Vessel ran aground along the coast of Table Bay in 2009.
The City of Cape Town has repeatedly engaged with the Department of Transport and the Department of Environmental Affairs with a view to finding a permanent resolution. “It is unfortunate that these parties did not engage with the City sooner when we requested them to attend a meeting with other relevant stakeholders in early February of this year; and that the issue of the necessary funding for the salvage operation is taking so long to settle”, said Alderman J.P Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.
“The proactive salvage effort that was suggested by the City and SAMSA at that stage would almost certainly have prevented the oil spill that occurred over the weekend,” added Alderman Smith.
The matter will serve before Cabinet during September 2012 and approval is now being awaited. The City is currently ascertaining from the Department of Transport what progress has been made since the last engagement in respect of investigating options for the wreck reduction.
The City’s position remains that the wreck must be removed in the interests of public safety and the environment. Over 54 endangered African penguins were contaminated by oil as a result of the weekend’s oil spill. SANCCOB has advised the City that the birds are currently undergoing intensive rehabilitation before they can be released back into the wild.
The on-going pollution from the vessel is a major concern for SANCCOB given that the Table Bay area is one of the main feeding grounds for the African penguin and other seabirds breeding on Robben Island, Dassen Island and the West Coast.
“We eagerly await a response to the request from the National Department of Transport by the National Treasury on the availability of the funding, which will allow us to consider our options thereafter,” Smith said. “We must ensure the removal of the wreck as soon as possible to reduce further oil risk, the erosion of the coastline adjacent to the wreck and the visual and environmental impact.”
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