Activists to appeal failed bid to stop Shell's Wild Coast blasting

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Protesters at the V&A Waterfront.
Protesters at the V&A Waterfront.
Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • The applicants believe that the case against the Shell's undersea blasting is of substantial public importance.
  • Another group of activists is awaiting an outcome to its urgent interdict application against the seismic survey.
  • The date for application for leave to appeal the decision in favour of Shell has not been set.

A group of four environmental and human rights organisations - whose bid to halt seismic blasting by Shell off the Wild Coast was earlier this month dismissed by the court - has now filed an application to appeal the decision.

On 3 December, in the the High Court in Makhanda, Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee turned down an application for an urgent interdict against Shell's seismic survey - which is being conducted as part of exploration for oil and gas by the Netherlands-based conglomerate.

The application brought by the Border Deep Sea Angling Association, the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, Natural Justice, and Greenpeace Africa was dismissed, with the judge stating that there was no reasonable proof that Shell’s seismic blasting would cause irreparable harm.

"The applicants seek to appeal the judgment, which found that there was no reasonable apprehension that Shell’s seismic blasting would cause irreparable harm," according to a statement on Wednesday.

The application for leave to appeal comes days after the same court reserved judgment in a different case seeking an order halting the controversial process. The case was brought by community groups, environmental and social activists and heard by a different judge. It is not clear when the court would come back with the verdict.

The current applicants state that the case is of "substantial public importance" and that there are reasonable prospects of an appeal court finding that Shell did not undertake the consultations which its own environmental management programme (EMPr) obliged it to take.

Shell, on the other hand, has argued that its EMPr for the survey involved significant public consultation.

The aggrieved applicants also argue that the court should have granted an interim interdict to stop Shell starting the seismic survey and should not have made a punitive costs order when they were acting in the public interest.

They also seek to challenge the exploration right which Shell and others rely on to search for oil and gas off the Wild Coast and Algoa Bay, regardless of the final outcome of the two interdict applications. Shell is undertaking the survey under the exploration right obtained in 2014.

The date for the hearing has not been set.

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