Environmental group disappointed after failing to halt Shell seismic survey

During the seismic survey, which was meant to start on Wednesday, a vessel will discharge pressurised air that generates sound waves directed towards the seabed for the exploration of petroleum resources.

FILE: A woman rides her bicycle past the Shell Pernis site in Rotterdam on 30 July 2020. Picture: Robin Utrecht/AFP

CAPE TOWN - Human rights and environmentalist group, Natural Justice, is disappointed after the Makhanda High Court dismissed an urgent application to stop Shell from carrying out seismic tests along the Wild Coast.

The urgent court bid was filed earlier this week but was turned down on Friday morning.

Head of campaigns at Natural Justice, Katherine Robinson: "The court refused to interdict seismic surveys on the basis that irreparable harm to marine species was not proved. However, in relation to the second renewal application, he found that the applicants had indeed succeeded in establishing that they had prima facie prospects of success due to the apparently inadequate public participation."

During the seismic survey, which was meant to start on Wednesday, a vessel will discharge pressurised air that generates sound waves directed towards the seabed for the exploration of petroleum resources.

Robinson said that they would not back down in their fight to protect the Wild Coast.

"It's quite a disappointing outcome, it's quite unfortunate especially since the judge did not recognise the urgency of the interdict and the immediate thereat that the seismic surveys posed to the environment, marine life and local communities."

But environmentalists said that the testing would cause irreparable harm to birdlife and sealife.

Shell had argued that the legal bid was nothing short of abusive.

The company said that there had been around 325 seismic surveys conducted globally, without any reports of death or harm to the environment.