Oil pollution on the Afrodite beach and Walvis Bay lagoon

The purpose of this Media Release is to update the public on the oil pollution which affected the Afrodite beach and the lagoon in Walvis Bay between 8th and 18th March 2018.

Since our last Media Release on 20 March 2018, no new oil pollution have been detected or reported in the above mentioned area or any other location in Walvis Bay. Likewise we have not received reports of affected coastal or seabirds or other sea animals. This follows extensive shoreline assessment and aerial investigation exercises involving members of the National Marine Pollution Contingency Plan as well as members of the general public.

We are confident that all the oil spilled in this incident has been recovered through shoreline clean-up and natural weathering processes.  Our beaches and biodiversity hotspots are clean and safe to enjoy for both locals and visitors alike.

Regarding efforts to identify the source: we are pleased to inform the public that significant progress has been made in this regard. Using a combination of satellite images and Automatic Identification System (AIS), we were able to focus our investigations on one or two potential sources. As advised previously, it may take a while to finalize the investigations and hold the offending party responsible as multiple jurisdictions are involved.

In addition to the ongoing post-spill assessments and investigations to identify the source of the oil pollution, the Ministry of Works and Transport together with the Ministries of Defence (Navy), Ministry of Safety and Security (Nampol Water Wing) and Namport are reviewing the procedures for allowing foreign ships to anchor within Namibian bays, ship-to-ship transfer operations as well as sharing of maritime domain information. The objective of this review is to further strengthen existing risk control measures in order to ensure that Namibia does not become a haven for sub-standard shipping.

Although we consider this unfortunate incident to be over, post-spill assessment and monitoring will continue. We also ask the public to be vigilant and to report any oil pollutions to the Directorate of Maritime Affairs in the Ministry of Works and Transport on the following numbers 064- 208 6300 / 0816649188 or Namport 064 – 208 2355 or 0811279259.