Greece tries to clean up oil spill on Athens coastline



Authorities in Greece say they are doing everything they can to clean up the oil that has coated large parts of Athens' coastline following the sinking of a small oil tanker.

The Agia Zoni II tanker sank Sunday while anchored in calm seas off the coast of Salamina island, near Greece's main port of Piraeus, carrying 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil. Two crew members were rescued.

"All the means available in the country" are being deployed to tackle the spill in the Saronic Gulf, Merchant Marine Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis said on Thursday.

"Things are developing very well and from day to day there is a huge improvement," he said, adding that authorities estimate the "situation will have completely changed" in 25-30 days.

Greece has also requested help from the European Union and a specialised clean-up vessel has been deployed.


Many have accused the Greek government of not acting quickly enough to prevent the spill from spreading across the coastline.

Cause of the sink is still not known and the vessel's owner, Theodoros Kountouris, told reporters that the ship, built in 1972, had been overhauled in 2014 to make it double-hulled, which would make it safer for leaks.

"I'm very sorry for what happened," he said in tears.

"We believe that there will be no irreversible consequences to the environment," Famellos said. "I would not call it an environmental disaster. There was a serious environmental accident that is being dealt with."

Mayors of affected coastal areas were threatening to take legal action over the pollution.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.

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