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Shell faces new court case as community tries to stop seismic survey

As Shell gets ready to blast the ocean floor along the Wild Coast with its planned seismic survey, communities are rallying together and offering a fresh set of legal challenges for the oil and gas giant.

A new case, which was filed last week, is set to be heard on December 14 as local communities argue that it is not only their livelihoods at stake but that through their ancestors who “reside” at sea, their relationship with God, reports GroundUp.

The latest case comes after the South African High Court dismissed a request for an interdict from environmental groups including Greenpeace. The petition attempted to stop the survey as it argued that the search for oil and gas under the ocean floor would cause irreparable harm to marine life and hurt the livelihoods of those who live off the ocean.

“Our ancestor’s blood was spilt protecting our land and sea,” Reinford Zikulu said in an affidavit filed on behalf of Sustaining The Wild Coast NPC. “We now feel a sense of duty to protect our land and sea for future generations as well as for the benefit of the planet.”

Damage to the delicate balance of marine life and the disruption to local communities are not the only reasons to stop the seismic survey, notes Sustaining The Wild Coast. According to the group, Shell does not have the necessary permits and the exploration of oil and gas goes against the country’s drive to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuels levels reports Business Tech.

“They are now rushing to blast our seas without any authorisation under (the much stricter conditions) of NEMA and on one month’s notice. Their conduct is literally criminal,” Zukulu stated.

Shell has faced nationwide backlash following the seismic announcement with many South Africans protesting the action. Nearly 379 000 individuals have signed an online petition.

Shell is expected to file its opposing papers later this week.

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