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All "Dangerous Chemical" Containers Recovered off Mossel Bay Coastline, NSRI Confirms Safety

Published April 01, 2024
2 months ago

In a proactive maritime operation, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has successfully recovered all containers adrift or at sea, initially believed to be filled with dangerous chemicals, safeguarding the South African coastline and its residents. As confirmed by the NSRI and local authorities, the containers have been safely retrieved and pose no imminent threat to the community or the environment.

The recovery followed concerted efforts by a collaborative team comprising of the Garden Route District Municipality’s Fire Services, Disaster Risk Management, and NSRI Southern Cape. In an official communication relayed on a tranquil Sunday morning, officials divulged details of the containment strategy that saw two containers brought ashore near Mossel Bay.

The first of the containers, which beached in Hartenbos, was promptly secured by the unwavering efforts of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire and Rescue Services on the misty dawn of Saturday, March 30. Thankfully, it was bereft of hazardous content, thereby diffusing any potential peril.

Further intensifying the operation, a third container was spotted in the proximity of Mossel Bay Harbour, drifting towards the De Bakke shore. The NSRI Mossel Bay, in symbiosis with the GRDM Fire and Rescue Services, skillfully intercepted and sealed the container roughly 700 meters from the coast. The container was then safely transferred, with Marclean—a company specializing in hazardous materials and maritime debris—being actively involved in the process.

Adding to the relief of the operations crew, a blue container found on Arniston Beach was deemed unrelated to the incident and not dangerous, curtailing the spectrum of this environmental threat.

Backtracking to Friday, March 29, tension had escalated when a 200kg blue sealed container surfed ashore at Jongensfonteinstrand, near Stilbaai, raising alarm bells over its hazardous contents. NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon reiterated that the specialist Fire and Rescue Services within the Garden Route were diligently addressing the situation with the hazardous container.

Under the astute command of Chief Fire Officer Deon Stoffels, the GRDM Fire and Rescue Services have reassured the public that the danger has been averted. Nevertheless, emergency services continue to trail a precautious path, maintaining a 24-hour alert status in anticipation of any unforeseen developments.

Officer Stoffels expressed great pride in the community's spirited engagement and the rapid response from the public who reported the sightings. Accolades have been widely extended to all emergency and contracted services for their exemplary contribution and efficiency in resolving the situation.

As a beacon of collaboration, the success of these operations serves as a testament to South Africa's readiness and capability to swiftly tackle environmental hazards, ensuring the safety and well-being of its people and its cherished coastal treasures.

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