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Shell seismic survey: NSPCA finds sense of relief and celebrates victory for the voiceless in the sea

NSPCA had expressed its concern regarding the danger to marine life to both Shell and the South African government, but received no response. Picture: NSPCA

NSPCA had expressed its concern regarding the danger to marine life to both Shell and the South African government, but received no response. Picture: NSPCA

Published Dec 30, 2021

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DURBAN - The National Council of SPCAs said it found a sense of relief and celebrated the interim victory for the voiceless after the Makhanda High Court interdicted Shell’s seismic survey.

On Tuesday, the Makhanda High Court in the Eastern Cape ruled that Shell could not continue with the blasting, which was meant to explore for oil and natural gas off the Wild Coast.

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The NSPCA said the honourable Judge Gerald Bloem prevented Shell from continuing its seismic survey along the Wild Coast, which began on December 2, 2021.

The survey, which consisted of air guns being blasted into the sea every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, was being carried out in search of oil and gas beneath the seabed.

“The NSPCA formally expressed its concern regarding the danger to marine life to both Shell and the South African government but received no response from either of the parties,” the NSPCA said.

The organisation said the efforts of other environmental organisations, who took the matter to court, proved to be unsuccessful when Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee ruled in favour of Shell earlier this month.

“In the judgment handed down today (Tuesday), the NSPCA finds a sense of relief and celebrates this interim victory for the voiceless in the sea,” the NSPCA said.

“It is with great thanks to Richard Spoor Attorneys and the Legal Resources Centre and their clients, the communities of Dwesa-Cwebe, Amadiba and Port Saint Johns, for this victory.”

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The NSPCA said the judgment served as confirmation of a statement made in a unanimous judgment in the Constitutional Court, written by Judge Sisi Khampepe - “Animals are sentient beings that are capable of suffering and of experiencing pain.”

NSPCA executive director Marcelle Meredith said: “Research proves more and more each year that animals have the ability to think and feel. Just because these animals live in the sea and they cannot be cuddled, does not mean they feel any less or should matter to us less. This is a small light at the end of a dark tunnel when it comes to our marine life.”

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