Island mayor threatens suit as oil spill spreads


Clean-up crews were scrambling Tuesday to contain the spread of an oil slick on the island of Salamina, near Athens, caused by a small tanker that sank over the weekend in the Saronic Gulf.

Reports said that crews had managed to stop up leaks from the ship’s cargo hold. Authorities also said that a pumping operation to remove the oil is expected to begin Wednesday and will last for 20 days.

However, the sinking of the Aghia Zoni II off the coast of Psyttaleia with a cargo of 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil, has caused serious environmental damage, as the subsequent spill spread due to strong winds to the eastern coast of Salamina, covering a 2.5 kilometer stretch of the island’s shoreline with crude oil.

The island’s mayor, Isidora Papathanasiou, said that available resources to tackle the problem are insufficient.

“The damage is very extensive and the teams that have been sent to deal with it are very small,” she said.

Papathanasiou added that the municipality will receive applications from residents that have suffered damages in order to file a lawsuit.

“A few days ago you could see the bottom of the bay. Today there’s 10 centimeters of oil on the sea’s surface,” Panayiotis Despotopoulos, a resident of Kynosoura on the island’s coast, told Kathimerini.

The spill also reached the areas of Zea and Peiraiki in mainland Piraeus Tuesday.

The cause of the sinking is still being investigated but it has raised questions, as the vessel was anchored and the weather was mild when it went down.

Meanwhile, in a related development, efforts to tow the Blue Star Patmos ferry boat from the port of Ios in the Cyclades to Piraeus, which began on Friday, August, have resulted in a fuel leak, according to coast guard officials.

Report said that a gash sustained by the vessel when it ran aground off Ios at the end of last month, resulted in the leakage of some 350 cubic meters of fuel as it was being towed to the port of Piraeus on Monday.