Athens Oil Spill – What You Need to Know

by | Sep 14, 2017 | Coast Life | 0 comments

The Athens Coast is going through some tough times right now.  Cleanup crews are working around the clock to try and contain an oil spill off the coast of Salamina.

What happened

  • 2,200 tons of oil and 370 tons of gasoline were spilled when the cargo ship “Agia Zoni II sunk” off the coast of Salamina.
  • We still have no idea what caused the ship to sink.

When did it happen?

  • In the early hours of Sunday, September 10th, 2017.

Who is responsible?

  • Officially, we still have no idea what caused the ship to sink.
  • The ship was built in 1972 and overhauled in 2014, leading some to speculate that the ship was simply not fit for duty any longer.
  • Only 2 of it’s 11 strong crew – the captain and chief engineer – were on board when it started to sink.

What is the Greek government saying?

  • Athens municipality claims to have it cleaned up in 20-25 days
  • Deputy Environmental Minister Socrates Famellos said “We believe that there will be no irreversible consequences to the environment” and “I would not call it an environmental disaster”, instead preferring to label this as a “serious environmental accident”.
  • Deputy Agriculture Development Minister Giannis Tsironis said “the responsibility lies with an entire society and a global economy dependent on oil.”

What are the environmental organisations saying?

  • Environmental groups like the WWF and Greenpeace are complaining that officials allowed the oil spill to spread out of control.
  • “This leak happened near the country’s biggest harbour [Piraeus], just miles away from the operation centre of the ministry tasked with addressing such disasters,” said Dimitris Ibrahim, campaign director at Greenpeace Greece.
  • Dimitris Caravelles, the head of WWF Greece, said “what is clear is that this is no minor accident” and “a country with heavy tankers traffic has proven unable to protect its beaches from an initially small-scale incident”.

What is it like on the Athens Coast now?

  • Miles of beaches and shoreline on the Athens coast have been blackened.
  • The foul stench of putrid oil is noticeable even in suburban areas many kilometers away from the sea.
  • Floating dams have been setup and chemicals are also being used to dissolve the spillage.
  • Glyfada Mayor Giorgos Papanilolaoy said 28 tonnes of fuel had been removed from one beach alone.


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