EC confirms request for oil spill aid was lodged late


A European Commission spokesman has revealed that a request by Greek authorities to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) was lodged three full days after the Agia Zoni II tanker sank off Salamina last week.

According to the spokesman for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides, Greek authorities contacted EMSA early on September 13 following the tanker’s sinking on September 10, Kathimerini understands.

The organization responded immediately and a vessel was dispatched within hours to the area to assist in the cleanup operation, he said. In comments in Parliament on Wednesday, Shipping Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis said EMSA told him a vessel could not be dispatched immediately.

Meanwhile the Shipping Ministry said it would intensify inspections of small tankers. The random checks are to target Greek-flagged fuel tankers, particularly older vessels.