A giant oil slick is threatening south Africa's scenic southern coastline between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth.
A giant oil slick is threatening south Africa's scenic southern coastline between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth. The oil comes from the damaged 330,000 ton super tanker Venoil, which collided with her sister ship the Venpet on December 16.
SYNOPSIS: At the height of South Africa's summer season, this stretch of coastline, known as the Golden Route attracts more than 80,000 holiday makers.
Since the collision, a tide of thick black oil has rolled onto the beaches. Anti-pollution vessels have used detergent sprays, but experts have found it hard to break up the slick, which is being blown ashore by strong winds.
The oil slick is the most serious ever to hit the South African coast, and as well as threatening tens of thousands of holidays it could also have a serious effect on sea bird life in the region.
The collision, in the Indian Ocean, 20 nautical miles (32km) off Cape St. Francis has been described as the world's costliest maritime disaster. Japanese built, and registered in Liberia, the two super tankers were both reported badly damaged. They were valued at 27 million dollars. They are now at anchor off Port Elizabeth.