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Wild Coast fury awaits Shell’s seismic gunship

All marine life will be threatened by sonic booms fired by air guns from December as Shell barges on with its oil and gas exploration.
All marine life will be threatened by sonic booms fired by air guns from December as Shell barges on with its oil and gas exploration.
Image: Lesley Rochat

A groundswell of public fury awaits the arrival of Shell oil’s seismic blasting ship Amazon Warrior in Wild Coast waters on December 1.

Eighty Wild Women who regularly run the Wild Coast trails are threatening to strip naked, paint their bodies and chain themselves to Shell’s offices.

Eighty Wild Women who regularly run the Wild Coast trails are threatening to strip naked, paint their bodies and chain themselves to Shell’s offices, ski boat owners are saying their boats will lie in anchor in the way of the hired 6,866-tonne 126m Shearwater Geo Services ship, there was talk of a human chain all along the coastline, and a court challenge.

There is further outrage about Operation Phakisa sweetener “uplift” deals for big oil which might see taxpayers paying Shell billions for the four-month survey in which arrays of air guns blasting 220-decibels of sound into the ocean every 10 seconds — at a cost of “millions of dollars a day”.


Avant-garde SA surfing legend Ricky Basnett has his say:


Scientists and activists say all marine life, from the smallest mollusc to the humpback whale, will be panicked, damaged and there will be deaths.

On Tuesday, Amazon Warrior was 300km off Nouakchott, Mauritania, sailing to Cape Town at 24km/h, and scheduled to arrive at 6am on Sunday November 21.

Attempts to get comment from Barbara Creecy, minister of forestry, fisheries & the environment, were unsuccessful.

She has attended the COP26 climate crisis conference in Glasgow.

A change.org petition calling on Creecy to withdraw Shell’s environmental authorisation started by Oceans not Oil in Mthatha and Durban last week, was signed by 19,145 people by 4pm on Tuesday.

Many left simple but searing messages about saving the Wild Coast and the planet.



Wild Women’s Kim van Kets, a lawyer by training and a legal mediator, said ideas were sparking through her group, which was furious.

A meeting would be held to forge the best actions, which included raising awareness and taking Shell to court to thrash out the issue.

“The blasts will be a massive environmental violation coming precisely at time when world leaders are gathered smugly at COP26  promising to turn the ship around — and here on the Wild Coast, exactly the opposite happening.

“It is morally and globally insane.”

“At this point everyone wants to go naked and paint their bodies, form human chains on the Wild Coast, go on our own boats.

“Eighty warrior women want to stand in the ship’s way.

“This about the Wild coast, the planet and our grandchildren.”

She said the idea of her tax money paying for the survey “pushes me right over the edge. By the time we get to pay for it there may be no planet left.”

Oceans not Oil founding member Janet Solomon said the petition had had 33,500 views and 5,500 shares.

“There is an urgency for a response from concerned citizens because there has not been proper public participation.”

She said: “The petitioners are asking minister Creecy — the only person mandated to protect our oceans for present and future generations — to step in and prevent the seismic survey from going forward.

“It will be years before Shell produces any oil or gas from this application and what will our Earth and oceans look like then?”

She said the “uplift” capital expenditure bill for Total’s 3D survey and exploration wells off Mossel Bay was heading towards R42bn.

“Our entire climate or weather system is moving further south, meaning we will have greater and longer drought.

“Soil moisture content will change and there will be unimagined impacts on agri-industry.

Kei Mouth Skiboat Club chair John Rance said: “There is universal opposition, but we need to put it all together. There is a meeting and it is likely that there will be legal action.

“It is mind-boggling to think of what will be done to [fishes’] ears when you shoot this massive blast into the water.

“I am convinced it will kill fish.

“My boat is ready.

“We will be in the path of that survey ship.”

He said he would support any protest by wild, naked, painted women.


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