Oil Companies To Implement Additional Action at Port Elizabeth Harbour

www.MyPE.co.za: Oil
Companies, who utilise the tank farms at Port Elizabeth harbour, have
agreed to take further emergency measures in addition to that already
in
place to contain the oil contamination at the Port Elizabeth harbour’s
Dom Pedro jetty.

Shell South Africa, which acts as housekeeper of the tank farms on
behalf
of the oil industry at Port Elizabeth harbour today confirmed that it
has received a report on the contamination and that the oil companies
have agreed to take additional emergency measures recommended in the
report.

The report followed an extensive investigation conducted by independent
engineering company, SRK Consulting.

In their findings, the consultancy confirmed that there were no leaks
from either the infrastructure at the tank farm being used by the oil
industry or from a disused bunker line previously suspected to be the
source of the contamination.

While the source of the contamination has yet to be determined, the
consultancy has now recommended extending an underground retention
wall, to assist in permanently containing oil from dispersing into the
harbour. It will also make recovery of the product considerably easier.

The report also recommends some longer-term remediation activities,
which are currently being discussed with the authorities.

Several measures are already in place at the harbour to contain the oil
contamination and recover it from the surface water. These include the
deployment of a deep-sea boom, and a number of secondary booms, to
contain oil from dispersing into the harbour, as well as a series of
absorbent booms, which contain materials that absorb oil from the water.

Remediation at the site has also commenced with the use of pumps, which
recover the oil for safe storage on site.

While SRK Consulting have identified the location of the contamination
plume under the Dom Pedro jetty, laboratory tests are underway to
determine its age.

“The contamination is of great concern to Shell and the oil companies,
irrespective of who is responsible. We are working closely with both
the ports and environmental authorities to address the immediate issue,
while ensuring comprehensive remediation of the site in the
longer-term,” said a company spokesperson.

Eds Notes: The
above is a verbatim press release from Shell and I would like to make a
few comments:

The problem of oil leaking into the Port Elizabeth Harbour Water from
the Tank Farm is a long standing one. As a member of the Algoa Bay
Yacht Club I have been privy to the reams of correspondence back and
forth between the Yacht Club, Shell and Portnet. As with all such
things the wheels have turned far too slowly and each of the
potentially affected parties has spent considerable time posturing and
trying to ensure that the blame is laid at someone else’s door.

In an ideal world, Shell or Portnet or the company that constructed the
Dom Pedro Jetty would stand up, accept the blame and take immediate
steps to remedy the situation. It seems that in this day and age a
‘man’s word’ is just a collection of warmish air emanating from a cold
fish and NOT what it used to be, what a shame.

I am sure that no-one gives a rats whatsit about how old the
contamination plume is. Can you imagine the outcry the world over if an
oil tanker ran aground and contaminated thousands of marine animals and
a bunch of consultants ran around not cleaning the mess up until they
had established the age of the oil tanker or just where the crude oil
had come from so that they could lay the blame as close to the source
as possible?

Damaging the ‘slowly being repaired’ reputation of the harbour
authorities even more is their steadfast refusal to exercise their
legal power and stop all oil storage on the site until the source of
the leak is found and stopped. Surely the Nelson Mandela Bay
Municipality has the legal obligation towards it’s citizens to actually
serve Portnet with a cease, desist and clean up order on behalf of all
the citizens of this Metro? Don’t even think it, I know you are
thinking; “Sure, nothing has happened to the slumlords violating Port
Elizabeth’s Historical Buildings so what chance does the Metro have in
forcing Portnet from continuing to violate our health, environment,
pockets and views?” Have faith – something will happen if we encourage
it to.

I can only say that it was a blessing in disguise when Portnet
scuppered, at the source, Port Elizabeth’s bid to host the 2011 Volvo
Ocean Race in Port Elizabeth – the potential embarrassment to the city
from the Manganese Ore and Tank Farms being viewed by millions of
television and internet followers would probably have sent Volvo
packing back to a city that really doesn’t appreciate them, never to
return.

Related Links:
Tank Farm Explosion | Spend Millions, Watch it get Covered in Oil
| Petition to Relocate Manganese Ore Dump
| Cancer Scare Related to Manganese 
Related Images:
Oil Spill.

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