Coast KZN

02 Jan 2022

Wild Coast’s seismic survey stopped

Shona Aylward (South Coast Herald) Picture: SAAMBR. Shell has been ordered to stop its seismic survey along the Wild Coast by the High Court in Makhanda.

Due to a High Court ruling, Shell will have to stop its seismic survey along the Wild Coast. This news is a huge victory for the environment, and activists around the world are rejoicing!

Judge Gerald Bloem on Tuesday this week interdicted Shell from continuing with the survey which began on December 2.

Richard Spoor Attorneys and the Legal Resources Centre acting on behalf of the Dwesa-Cwebe, Amadiba, and Port Saint Johns communities, as well as environmental organisations, argued recently that the seismic surveying was devastating to the marine environment, as well as harmful to communities’ rights and reliance on the sea for sustenance, income and cultural practices.

During legal arguments, Shell was warned that if the interim interdict was granted it might have to walk away from the entire operation, including the possibility of extracting any oil and gas which might have been found during the controversial seismic survey. It said its losses would amount to some R1-billion.

Dr Judy Mann of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research said they are delighted with the ruling.

“It is a wise decision to stop the survey now, and adopt the precautionary principle. Future decisions on seismic surveys will need to be based on up-to-date biological research on the impact of these surveys, both in the short and long-term. In addition, the enormous risks of offshore oil and/or gas extraction along the Wild Coast needs to be very carefully reassessed.

She added that this ruling is an incredible win for the environment and for the people living along the Wild Coast.

“The ruling is also a victory for the South African Constitution. The applicants from various Wild Coast communities and their lawyers are to be commended and thanked for having had the courage to stand up against the giant fossil fuel industry,” she said.

“The uproar against seismic surveying along the Wild Coast has revealed a deep love for the ocean and the incredible power of communities standing together.”