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Press Releases 2009

Oil Companies To Implement Additional Action at Port Elizabeth Harbour

Oil Companies To Implement Additional Action at Port Elizabeth Harbour

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 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.