Shell has announced it will start a seismic survey in search of oil or gas deposits from Morgan Bay to Port St Johns on December 1. The vessel operated by Shell Exploration and Production SA’s hirelings, Shearwater GeoServices, will, for five months, drag up to 48 air guns methodically through 6,011km² of ocean surface, firing extremely loud shock wave emissions that penetrate through 3km of water and 40km into the Earth’s crust below the seabed.
The ship will work around the clock, firing the air guns every 10 seconds. In the process, marine life on the sensitive Wild Coast will be panicked and damaged.
Many sea creatures could be affected in the coming months — whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, sharks and even crabs and tiny shellfish will be blasted. At a time when world leaders are making promises and decisions to step away from fossil fuels because climate science has shown we cannot burn our existing reserves (let alone drill for more), offshore oil and gas Operation Phakisa is pushing ever harder to get its hands on a local supply of gas. Shell must answer for how the harms done during this survey and any exploration drilling done hereafter are part of its energy transition plan to control global warming.
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