A South African court has upheld a ban imposed on the energy giant Shell from using seismic waves to explore for oil and gas off the Indian Ocean coast. The judgment, delivered in Makhanda, is a huge victory and relief for whales and other marine life. Shell was set to collect seismic data by using air guns and emitting sound over thousands of square kilometres in waters reach in marine life. The intense noise reaches up to 240 decibel or even more and is emitted every 10 to 15 seconds, 24 hours a day for five months, disturbing and potentially harming numerous marine species.
OceanCare has supported local researchers and campaigners with information documenting concern over the potential impacts by airguns blasting the ocean. The ruling is certainly a huge success for marine wildlife as well as the civil society movement in South Africa. The high court ruled, that the 2014 decision granting the right for the exploration of oil and gas in the exploration areas is reviewed and set aside. However, the threat of future oil and gas exploration still exists. There are at least three surveys applied for to be undertaken off the west coast in the upcoming summer.