Protest against Shell

Over 100 protesters gathered at the V&A Waterfront on Sunday to express their resistance to the oil corporation Shell and its plans to conduct seismic activity off the Wild Coast.

According to the Green Connection, an organisation that works with small-scale fishers and coastal communities across the country to promote ocean protection, Shell’s seismic testing vessel, the Amazon Warrior, made its way into Cape Town harbour and is on its way to the Wild Coast to conduct seismic surveys for an estimated five months.

“The reason we are unhappy with this idea is that Shell has used a legal loophole, no environmental impact assessment was required in 2013. Now in 2021, this authorisation is being used to justify their actions. No meaningful public participation is needed, yet the seismic survey will have an impact on marine life and subsequently could impact the lives and livelihoods of the fisher communities who depend on the ocean’s resources. How can our government allow a corporation to do this without any accountability,” said Liz McDaid, Strategic Lead for the Green Connection.

In the centre, Liz McDaid, Strategic Lead for the Green Connection, speaks to the crowd.

She said public pressure is needed and this resistance action was just the first in a series of protests against the seismic activity.

“It is also quite appropriate that today is World Fisheries Day because we have a strong message for the Shell Corporation – stop messing up our planet. By causing harm to the ocean the knock-on effect is that the livelihoods of our small-scale fishing communities could be affected. The time has come to completely change your business model because fossil fuels are the past and only enriching a few, while climate change is real and harming nature as well as the thousands of people who depend on a healthy environment for their livelihoods,” Ms McDaid said.

On the left is Youth Coordinator for African Climate Alliance, Gabriel Klaasen.

“We are here to call for an end to Shells want to do seismic activity on our coast as well their want for exploration and exploitation of gas and oil because it adversely affects the marine life and the vulnerable communities. We are here to create that awareness and to tell Shell we are not going to sit back while they destroy our marine life,” said youth coordinator for African Climate Alliance, Gabriel Klaasen.

In a statement from Shell Downstream South Africa (Pty) Ltd, the company confirms that seismic activity will take place to collect data on the subsurface to try and find a specific location where there may be an oil and/or gas prospect for drilling.

The statement adds: We are targeting a specific area (the survey area) within the Exploration License Area where we believe there may be potential oil or gas deposits beneath the seabed. In order to understand if there could potentially be oil and/or gas deposits, we need to build up an image of what the subsurface looks like in our targeted survey area. In order to image the subsurface, one must undertake a seismic survey.“

Ilham Rawoot, a coordinator at Say no to Gas! Justica Ambienta/Friends of the Earth Mozambique organisation with the poster.