After the Makhanda High Court granted an urgent interdict halting further seismic exploration by Shell along South Africa’s Wild Coast, Shell’s exploration vessel, the Amazon Warrior, departed South African shores as per Getaway Magazine.
Makhanda high court judge, Gerald Bloem granted an interdict sought by local communities and environmentalists, as to whether Shell requires an environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act.
Shell claimed that it had acquired the necessary authorisation for exploration rights, but Bloem ruled that Shell had failed to properly prove they had consulted with communities and had not respected local ‘practices and beliefs.’
‘It seems to me that the exploration right, which was awarded on the basis of a substantially flawed process, is thus unlawful and invalid,’ Bloem said. Bloem commented that while Shell had pointed to the mitigation measures it was taking to minimise harm to marine life, ‘implicit in its contentions was an acknowledgement of harm.’
‘The opinions expressed are based on objective fact,’ Bloem said, ‘There is no reason not to accept their evidence that establishes that without intervention by the court, there is a real threat to marine life.’
Regarding the departure of their exploration vessel, Amazon Warrior, Shell commented that they have ‘decided to terminate the current contract for the survey vessel early.’ The company said it is considering how it will proceed in the longer term.
The departure of the Amazon Warrior is a promising sign for civic and community activists, who mobilised communities against the proposed exploration and opened the case in court.
Author: David Henning / Getaway Magazine
Picture: The Green Connection