This is an important and informative update.
I previously, and partly incorrectly, reported that Knysna Municipality hadn’t been in contact with the public. There may be no information on their website (nothing since June 2!) but they did address an email to limited ‘stakeholders’ at 11pm on Sunday, saying that it should be shared. Thank you to the gentleman who forwarded it to me now.
It makes for an interesting read and is still relevant as the flotation of the Kiani Satu was delayed.
The current activities are three-fold:
- The investigation into the event.
- The removal of the vessel.
- Preparations for any environmental impact .
The investigation into the cause of the event is being investigated and thus cannot be speculated upon.
The preparations for the removal of the vessel are:
- The vessel is fully insured, and the salvage process is fully funded. There will be no cost to the state as the ship’s owners are taking full financial responsibility.
- The Smit Amandla is in the area and is prepared for the tug.
- It was intended to try to tug the ship out to sea at 16:00, 12/8/13. However, technical difficulties with the cargo helicopter resulted in delays in transferring the necessary equipment to the ship and the rigging of the tow equipment.
- A replacement helicopter is being brought in on Monday. There is also concern that the team would not be able to complete the process within the two hour gap, before sunset tonight.
- It is now expected that the tug will commence at high tide on Tuesday 13/8/13
- The tow length is expected to be about 1000m.
- The parking area at the NG Church in Buffalo Bay is to be cordoned off and used as a heli-pad.
- At this stage only excess water will be pumped from the ship. No fuel will be removed yet.
- It is expected that the weather will worsen by Tuesday 17:00 hence the need to compact the preparation activities and expedite the tug. Should the tug on Tuesday be unsuccessful, attempts will continue at high tide, during daylight. No activities are to be undertaken between sunset and sunrise due to safety requirements.
- There are 15 staff on board preparing the vessel and four helicopters have been deployed for various purposes.
The National Contingency Plan for the management of oils spills has been implemented. Preparations to date include:
- Attempts were made to close the smaller estuaries but the rivers’ flows have been too strong.
- DEA, as authority for oil spills have identified the Knysna estuary as the priority should there be a major spill.
- On Portside, in a south-easterly direction 120 degrees to west,-this area is a sheen with small pockets of heavy oil. This is about 7 nautical miles off-shore and heading south currently. It is dissipating quite rapidly. A tug is currently moving through this area to expedite the break-up of the oil. An additional vessel is arriving today from PE to assist this process.
- Precautionary measures and equipment are in place for any oil/fuel intrusion into any of the estuaries: Goukamma, Knysna and Swartvlei. The two smaller estuaries will be boomed off. Contractors have been appointed to manage any clean-up work required in the Knysna and Swartvlei estuaries. The Goukamma and the Marine Protected Area process will be managed by DEA.
- Areas for containment have been identified within the Knysna estuary as it will not be possible to boom off the entrance. The equipment for this process will be stored at the Heads parking area while it is being installed.
- The waste will be removed manually as far as possible – most importantly in the protected areas. It will then be transported out of the area to a suitably permitted site for disposal by a private waste management contractor.
- It is estimated that any clean-up will take a minimum of 5-6 weeks.
- A few birds have been found with oil. If any are found SANParks (for Swartvlei or Knysna) at 044 302 5600 or CapeNature (for Goukamma) must be immediately contacted. They will liaise with SANCCOB. It is not advised that the birds are touched, unless absolutely necessary.
- A team is going to sea today to assess further impact on birds and mammals and determine any levels of distress.
- An environmental scientist has been brought in to determine the base-line data needed to configure any damage caused.
- Should a spill occur additional staff from Working on Fire will be brought in for the clean up. The clean up will occur under the instruction of DEA. There is a strong likelihood that essential and waste management staff from the municipality may be directed to the clean up. This will impact on the municipal waste removal service. Should there be such a requirement the public will be informed and requested to assist by managing their waste.
Important to note is:
- There is a 1000m exclusion zone around the vessel. All access to the area has been cordoned off and no public or unauthorised persons are allowed to enter this zone. Law enforcement and Green Scorpions have been deployed in Goukamma to stop any illegal entries and persons will be prosecuted.
- The public are requested not to stop their vehicles along the Buffalo Bay road or nor are they permitted at the Wild Side parking area. The top parking area in BB may also be closed off. These measures are to allow for helicopters to land and for materials and equipment to be off-loaded, stored and picked up. Members of the public are requested to assist the authorities in adhering to these measures.