In South Africa, penguins threatened by the bunkering of boats at sea

Amid the roar of engines, a tourist boat approaches a towering fuel-laden vessel moored in Algoa Bay, South Africa, a stone's throw from the world's largest colony of Cape penguins, the - this ensures the supply of ships at sea.Halfway on the sea route between Europe and Asia, this bay which bathes in deep water near Port Elizabeth was an obvious choice for the first bunkering operation in sea in South Africa.Since 2016, it has been mainly freighters that stop there for offshore refueling.This maneuver allows more cargo to be transported and costs to be avoided in ports, while saving time.

But conservationists, ecotourism operators and nature lovers are concerned about the impact on this hotspot of marine biodiversity, which also attracts tourists.The operations are taking place too close to the areas of the sea.Feeding and breeding penguins, they warn.They disrupt the ecosystem and expose marine animals to oil spills.The bay's largest storage tanker can hold up to 100,000 tonnes of fuel.Twice already, in 2017 and 2019, teams had to intervene to save dozens of penguins covered in oil, after minor leaks.

The whales "moved away" because of the noise

In the Eastern Cape Province, Algoa Bay is home to nearly half of the world's population of endangered Cape penguins (Spheniscus demersus), but the site is also home to dolphins, whales, and on the route of an annual sardine migration, one of the most spectacular marine events."People were blown away by the number of animals we had in this bay," says Lloyd Edwards, who works in tourism.But according to him, today, some whales "moved away" because of the noise.

Posted Date: 2020-08-23

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