Transnet sees 'dramatic' spike in fuel theft

An illegal fitting discovered on Transnet's fuel pipeline between Jameson Park and Alrode in Gauteng on Sunday caused a leak that left emergency workers fighting to contain the spread of a pool of diesel, water and sewerage.
The incident comes on the back of a dramatic spike in fuel theft as prices rocket.
In its response to questions from Fin24, Transnet Pipelines did not specify how much diesel was spilled. It said emergency workers were deployed immediately, but that they struggled to isolate the fuel leak location due to a sewerage leak upstream that left the area waterlogged and overrun with effluent.
Ultimately, the illegal fitting was found along the N3 near Mapleton, Boksburg, the company said.
Petroleum products contain several potentially toxic compounds and diesel contamination can pose serious environmental risks and health risks through water contamination. Fuel clean-ups can be costly and challenging.
This is not the first-time criminals have caused a diesel spill this year. In March, thieves trying to steal diesel from the pipeline between Durban and Heidelberg caused the contamination of the Meul River.
Transnet said at the time that its security interventions had cut such incidents by half in the last year. However, the pipelines division told Fin24 on Tuesday that despite some early positive results, "the pilferage incidents have increased dramatically" and, since April, it has now seen over 40 incidents of theft.
It will keep working with law enforcement, it said. -Fin24