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Campaigners force Shell to halt oil exploration on South African coast

The Guardian

Campaigners force Shell to halt oil exploration on South African coast

Court instructs company to stop tests along Wild Coast after concerns raised about wildlife and lack of consultation

Jillian Ambrose: Tue 28 Dec 2021 13.20 GMT

Shell will be forced to halt oil exploration in vital whale breeding grounds along South Africa’s eastern coastline after a local court blocked the controversial project.

The court order calls for an immediate halt to Shell’s seismic tests which involve blasting sound waves through the relatively untouched Wild Coast marine environment, which is home to whales, dolphins and seals.

The community campaigners behind the legal challenge welcomed the court’s decision as a victory for “voiceless” indigenous groups living near the coast which hold customary rights to undertake small-scale fishing in the area, as well as a cultural and spiritual connection to the ocean.

Lawyers for the groups successfully argued that Shell had failed to meaningfully consult people who would be affected by the seismic survey and also provided evidence of the threat of harm to marine life.

A Shell spokesperson said: “We respect the court’s decision and have paused the survey while we review the judgment.”

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