SABC News Reports: 40-tons of diesel on a sunken crayfish trawler off the coast of Port Elizabeth, will be removed from the vessel within the next week. The Baratz sank in November in 2015 and some of its diesel is leaking. Environmentalists are concerned about the effects on the vulnerable African Penguin population.
A founder trustee of SAMREC, Libby Sharwood, is more concerned about the impact of diesel on the highly-endangered penguins. Scientists estimate that in the next four years, these species might no longer exist.
“The diesel in fact is even more dangerous than just ordinary crude oil as it destroys the penguin’s liver, it’s not as visible, so we often don’t even realise the penguins could become oiled.”
At this point in time the only thing that has been taken out of the wreck is equipment to be reused
However, Nigel Campbell from South African Maritime Safety Authority insists that the diesel will soon vaporise.
“There is no dangerous navigation on the wreck at this stage, there is no reason to remove it however the equipment is floating around the vessel and this equipment is still attached to the vessel and has to be removed.”
Campbell says, “The majority of things on board like guess oil, guess oil comes to the surface and is often broken up by the wind, the waves and the spill action and it’s often more damaging to spray it with chemicals. So while Mother Nature is dealing with it, we are monitoring it on a daily basis.”
However, an environmentalist based in Port Elizabeth, Rainer Schimpf, rejects this argument.
“At this point in time the only thing that has been taken out of the wreck is equipment to be reused, but nobody actually took care to think about the diesel. I raised that concern from the beginning because of my concern of possible health risk for the public on the beaches.”
“I seriously doubt that diesel will completely vaporise. I have a Jar of diesel at the back of the house since the wreck sank it’s filled, it’s been standing there and there is a mark on it and it has not at all vaporised. On top of that even if it would vaporise it wouldn’t vaporise the heavy metals on it,” Schimpf says.
Related: NMBT Comment on the Baratz | Underwater Footage of the Wreck of the Baratz | Diesel escaping from the wreck of the Baratz | Baratz wreck is a ‘No Go No Dive’ area | NMMU watches over Baratz Flotsam | Baratz Flotsam off Cape Recife | Baratz Diesel and Rope Flotsam | MyPE Image: Cape Receife | MyPE Image: Algoa Bay Yacht Club | Panyiota K Discharges into PE Harbour | We are in danger of destroying our HOPE SPOT | Fishing boat sinks off Cape Recife | Baratz Wreck – now an Environmental Disaster for Algoa Bay
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