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Media Release: Precautionary measures to prevent oil from entering estuaries
Date: 12th August 2013
Due to the stranding of the 165m bulk cargo ship (Kiani Satu), west of Goukamma estuary, carrying 330 tons of heavy fuel oil and 15, 000 tons of rice, the Garden Route National Park team had to go on high alert to prevent oil from entering the Swartvlei and Knysna estuaries.
The Knysna and Swartvlei estuaries in the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) are ranked among the top six in South Africa for their biodiversity significance according to a study conducted by Jane Turpie and Barry Clarke (2007). General Manager of the Garden Route National Park, Jill Bunding-Venter says all precautionary measures will be followed to ensure oil spillage does not enter the Swartvlei and Knysna estuaries. She confirmed this subsequent to a stakeholder committee meeting held between the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA), The Department of Environmental Affairs, the Knysna Municipality and other authorities.
The Garden Route National Park team are implementing the following precautionary measures to prevent oil from entering estuaries:
- Preparatory work was done to close the estuary mouth with a sand berm, but due to the strong river flow following heavy rains of approximately 82mm, efforts failed. The next step is to boom off the entrance to the Swartvlei estuary. This is similar to a ‘floating curtain’ to prevent oil from entering the estuaries.
- The mouth of the Knysna estuary will also be boomed during incoming tides in order to mitigate any potential oil entering the estuary.
- SANParks rangers will patrol the shorelines between Buffels Bay, Knoetzie and from the Swartvlei Beach to as far as the Touws River mouth. This is to monitor any spillage and to spot any oiled birds or mammals.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Garden Route National Park Communications
Tel: 044 302 5633
Tel: 044 302 5633; Cell: 078 702 9663