Clean-up operations underway following oil spill in Durban

The theft of a pipe has caused a crude oil spill in the Bellair area, in Durban, affecting the Umbilo River. The river flows into the Durban Harbour.
The theft of a pipe has caused a crude oil spill in the Bellair area, in Durban, affecting the Umbilo River. The river flows into the Durban Harbour.
  • Clean-up operations are underway following a crude oil spill in the Bellair area, in Durban.
  • The spill was allegedly the result of stolen Transnet pipelines which affected the Umbilo River. 
  • The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government assembled experts to deal with the spill. 

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has assembled experts with the requisite skills to deal with the recent crude oil spill in the Bellair area, in Durban.

This, according to Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, who inspected the rehabilitation and clean-up operations at the Bayhead Natural Heritage Site, near the Durban Habour Canal on Saturday.

News24 previously reported that the theft of a Transnet pipeline caused the oil spill which affected the Umbilo River which flowed into the Durban Harbour.

Dube-Ncube said a team of environmentalists had conducted daily inspections of the spill since Thursday.

On Saturday, she announced that the oil spill had been declared a Section 30 incident which referred to an "unexpected, sudden and uncontrolled release of a hazardous substance, including from a major emission, fire or explosion, that causes, has caused or may cause significant harm to the environment, human life or property", according to the National Environmental Management Act.

READ | Pipe theft causes crude oil to flow into Durban's Umbilo River

Dube-Ncube said the relevant role players were doing their part in the clean up as per the directives issued by the national Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Department, which gave clear instructions to be followed in the river and Bay clean-up and remediation in terms of the National Water Act.

The MEC added that a coastal and estuary specialist from Ezemvelo had also been working with the team deployed by Transnet, saying, "he has done exceedingly well in protecting our biodiversity".

Dube-Ncube said Transnet and their clean-up lead specialist company SpillTech had also been doing a "fantastic job".

WATCH | 'Pipelines cannot be close to ecological areas' – environment groups speak up after oil spill

The KZN Sharks Board had focused on the damage to the Bay system.

The board had also been conducting daily boat patrols, looking for any birds or marine life affected by the spill.

eThekwini Municipality Health was focusing on the public health of the affected communities and water-users, Dube-Ncube said.

"Already, health professionals are addressing odour complaints from the community," Dube-Ncube said.

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