Shipping minister says would resign if asked over Saronic Gulf oil spill


Greece’s shipping minister on Thursday said he would willingly step down if asked to by the prime minister as the government came under fire over an oil spill last weekend that has spread from the island of Salamina to the southern coast of Athens.

“I am at the prime minister’s disposal,” Panagiotis Kouroublis told Parapolitika radio, adding that the government has commissioned three specialized firms to clean up the spill from the Agia Zoni II tanker, which went down near Salamina in the early hours of Sunday while under anchor, with a cargo of 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil.

“The situation already appears to be improving,” Kouroublis said. “There’s a difference today compared to yesterday.”

Opposition chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis, meanwhile, is planning to visit the parts of southern Athens that have been hardest hit by the spill.

The head of New Democracy will visit Faliro, Alimos and Glyfada to inspect the damage himself and speak with local officials before heading back to Parliament to challenge the government over its response to the incident.

"The prime minister should accept the [Kouroublis's] resignation," Mitsotakis said.