Sunken tanker had not been cleared to sail, register says


The Agia Zoni II, which sank in the Saronic Gulf of Sunday and caused an oil spill that experts fear is turning into a serious ecological disaster, was not certified for seaworthiness, the Hellenic Register of Shipping announced on Thursday.

“The tanker in question has not been inspected and does not have any certificates issued by the Hellenic Register of Shipping,” the Piraeus-based company said in a statement.

The statement was prompted by claims made by the tanker’s owner that the Agia Zoni II was seaworthy when it went down in mild weather while under anchor with a cargo of 2,500 tons of fuel that has leaked and spread to the coasts of the island of Salamina and southern Athens, covering dozens of kilometers of coastline in foul-smelling gunk.

The maritime workers’ union PEMEN, meanwhile, has also issued a statement claiming that the 45-year-old ship was haphazardly repaired and had left the Aspropyrgos distilleries where it had loaded its cargo with just two of its 11-member crew.

“The engine room where it started taking on water had been roughly patched up in order to close gaping holes,” PEMEN claimed, saying that the Agia Zoni II was “extremely dangerous to safe navigation.”

The Greek company Up Drones created the following video to show the extent of the damage caused by the spill in Salamina.