Robben Island penguins hit by Seli 1 oil

2012-09-02 22:31
Oil is leaking from the wreck of the Seli 1. (Willie Burger, News24 user)

Oil is leaking from the wreck of the Seli 1. (Willie Burger, News24 user)

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Cape Town - Fuel leaking from a Turkish bulk carrier wreck that has been smashed up by a storm has contaminated at least five penguins on South Africa's Robben Island, emergency services said on Sunday.

One penguin from the island had been rescued for treatment and cleaning and a team would also capture the others, they added.

"At this stage it is not clear how seriously the birds are oiled, however veterinarians will assess the birds and determine where they should be released," said a statement from the service.

The fuel escaped from the wreck of the Seli 1 freighter, which went down in September 2009 and the discharge has already polluted two nearby beaches. It began leaking the fuel after a weekend storm smashed what was left of the vessel into three pieces.

A trail of fuel eight nautical miles (15km) in length and three metres wide extended from the vessel between Cape Town Harbour and Robben Island, the statement said.

The area was expected to be cleaned up on Monday, the weather conditions having prevented any earlier intervention.

The transport ministry requested the release of R40m to remove the wreck, emergency services said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  environment  |  maritime

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