Cape Town – A South African court has reportedly dismissed an urgent application to block Shell from going ahead with a planned seismic oil and gas exploration project along the Eastern Cape coast.
The ruling was delivered by Judge Avinash Govindjee at the Eastern Cape Division of the Makhanda High Court on Wednesday.
According to EWN, four environmental organisations, including Greenpeace Africa and Natural Justice, filed the urgent court bid earlier this week, saying the project posed a danger to marine wildlife.
The exploration was expected to last between four and five months and was slated to start on December 1.
“Many sea creatures will be affected, from whales, dolphins, seals, penguins to tiny plankton that will be blasted,” Janet Solomon, of the environmental group Oceans Not Oil, was quoted by AFP as saying recently.
The Wild Coast is a 300km (185-miles) stretch of unspoiled natural beauty along the Indian Ocean, dotted with marine and nature reserves.
A Shell representative said, “we take great care to prevent or minimise impacts on fish, marine mammals and other wildlife”.
“Shell has long experience in collecting offshore seismic data and the welfare of wildlife is a major factor in the stringent controls we use”.
The company said that there had been around 325 seismic surveys conducted globally, without any reports of death or irreversible harm to marine life.
In his ruling, Govindjee said that Shell had provided details on compliance with its Environmental Management Programme and the mitigation measures that would be in place for the survey, Fin24 reported.
“Given the paucity of information as to the likelihood of environmental harm, the balance of convenience favours Shell,” the report quated Govindjee as saying, adding that the applicants “failed” to convince the judge that there was a “well-rounded apprehension of irreparable harm” if the interim relief or interdict was not granted.
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