MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a global container shipping line, is assisting with the clean-up of beaches near Durban Harbour following the freak storm earlier this month.
On 10 October, strong winds and heavy rain lashed the harbour, leading to the temporary closure of the port. The storm also devastated homes and roads inland, reportedly flooding highways and uprooting trees, in what amounted to a provincial disaster. The extreme weather damaged MSC vessels and containers, as well as ships and equipment belonging to other carriers, amid zero visibility at times. Some cargo escaped from the containers.
This triggered inquiries into whether materials that washed up on beaches two weeks later, including plastic pellets, were linked to the impact of the severe weather. Those inquiries, as well as a scientific analysis to determine the origin of the pellets, are not yet conclusive.
While the plastic pellets may not be harmful to humans, MSC is responsive to concerns about the impact on marine life and is voluntarily assisting with the clean-up.
MSC therefore ensured the appointment of Resolve Marine Group, an experienced global salvage and emergency response company well-known in the shipping industry, to conduct surveillance and assessment of Durban harbour and the affected coastal areas and to supervise the clean-up operations.
MSC understands that at least one cargo-owner customer also appointed a clean-up company, Drizit Environmental, and MSC through its external surveyors has been in contact with Drizit since its appointment.
Following an extensive inspection, the clean-up operations began during the week at Durban Ski Boat Club and are expected to continue into the weekend.
MSC is also cooperating with a directive by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to assess the beaches near Durban, in line with normal protocols around marine spillage incidents. SAMSA has acknowledged that the cause of the damage in Durban Harbour was natural phenomenon.
MSC continues to assist Transnet National Ports Authority with efforts to locate missing equipment.
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