The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC) will be opening an office in Greece for the first time, Deputy Shipping Minister Nektarios Santorinios announced on Thursday, saying the agency will address claims from businesses that incurred losses as a result of the recent Agia Zoni II oil spill.
Santorinios was speaking at the reopening of two beaches in Piraeus after an oil-spill cleanup operation, in a ceremony that was also attended by Piraeus Mayor Yiannis Moralis and other government and coast guard officials.
Asked whether compensation will be granted to businesses that suffered losses as a result of the spill, the deputy minister said the Greek branch of the IOPC, which operates under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, is expected to significantly facilitate claims.
Santorinios did not clarify when the agency’s branch would open, but said it will mean “people won’t have to go to court and become involved in lengthy procedures nor will they have to go to London to claim compensation.”
“Small and medium-sized business owners will be able to submit their claims right here in Piraeus,” he added.
Freattyda and Aphrodite Bay were delivered to the public on Thursday after being closed for around a month following the spill from the Agia Zoni II tanker, which went down in the Saronic Gulf on September 10, though Santorinios said that swimming is not yet allowed.
“What we are delivering to the public today is these two stretches of coastline. Whether swimming will be permitted or not will depend on a decision from the Health Ministry based on new readings from the Hellenic Center for Maritime Research,” Santorinios was quoted by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency as saying. “I believe this will happen soon and bring a close to this unfortunate event.”