The crew for the vessel responsible for the 400 litres of oil spill in Algoa Bay at the weekend has been detained, while the cause of the spill is being investigated.

The incident happened during an offshore bunkering operation near Port of Ngqura, outside Port Elizabeth.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) says the captain of the vessel will have to take full responsibility should and if they find human error.

Samsa Southern Region Manager Bongiwe Stofile says the spillage has been contained to the water and is not expected to reach the beach or islands.

“As Samsa, we detained obviously the vessel and the vessel is alongside. We are continuing with the investigation where we are going to interview the crew members and currently, we have other authorities that are on a helicopter. They are doing inspection on the beaches as well as the islands for oil spill traces.”

Eastern Cape Manager of the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, Stacey Webb, says they are concerned about the safety of marine life.

“Unfortunately, the oil itself, the harm is already done. There are long term effects of the oil on breeding success. So, in terms of the population of an endangered species, it’s incredibly saddening. On the short term, we try and save as many as we can. The oil is obviously on the outside (sic) of the birds, but it is also ingested when they are swimming through a patch of oil or they are drinking.”

Click on the video below for more on the story: