The World Wildlife Fund has filed a lawsuit over extensive pollution to the Athens coastline, following an oil spill from the sinking tanker Agia Zoni II, near Greece’s largest port of Piraeus.
The environmental group’s Greek branch filed the lawsuit in the port city of Piraeus against “anyone found responsible,” a common practice when a party that could be held legally accountable has not been identified formally.
The tanker sank while anchored in calm seas and carrying 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil. The ship’s cargo spilled into waters where dolphins, turtles, seals and a variety of fish and sea birds feed and live. Oil slicks have extended from the island of Salamina, near where the tanker went down, to the entire length of the Athens coast.
The World Wildlife Fund said it considered the case to be “an environmental crime deserving exemplary punishment.”
The Greek government has faced criticism for what many say was a slow response that allowed leaking oil to spread along the greater Athens area’s coastline.
Demetres Karavellas, chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund’s Greece office, said it was essential to identify where responsibility lies. “Through a thorough analysis of the causes, we will emerge better prepared to avert or control similar accidents in the future,” he said.