A black day, a black tide

As if Greece was not plagued by enough problems, it is now the site of an unprecedented ecological disaster, following the sinking of an oil tanker near the port of Piraeus.

The Agia Zoni II sank on September 10 while anchored in calm seas and carrying 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil. The ship’s cargo spilled into waters where dolphins, turtles, seals and a variety of fish and sea birds feed and live. Oil slicks have extended from the island of Salamina, near where the tanker went down, to the entire length of the Athens coast.

 

Image from naharnet.com

 

The Greek government is being accused (as usual) of a slow and inadequate response to the crisis, which it (obviously) is denying.

Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund has filed a lawsuit over extensive pollution to the coastline around Athens. The environmental group’s Greek branch filed the lawsuit in the port city of Piraeus against “anyone found responsible,” a common practice when a party that could be held legally accountable has not been identified formally. Mayors of affected coastal areas are also threatening to take legal action.

Environmental and wildlife organizations have been posting instructions on social media on how members of the public should handle any stricken wildlife they come across, as well as phone numbers to call for help. As for the members of said public, they have been denied one of the great benefits – or saving graces – of living in Athens, that is, access to sandy beaches with clear water. The end of this season is shot, and who knows what the long-term consequences will be? This will also affect another Athenian pleasure, eating locally caught fish in little tavernas by the sea.

This disaster comes at the end of a summer beset, as usual, by wildfires which consumed another chunk of precious forest around Greece and the islands. There again, the authorities were criticized for being more disorganized than ever. At the moment they are engaged in heaping blame on each other – the opposition has asked for the resignation of Ministers concerned, etc – while spouting various inanities, such as, ‘In a month the beaches will be cleaner than before.’ Nobody is amused or convinced by this. Greece’s greatest assets are its natural beauties, and it is very sad to watch these being destroyed.

Below is a video taken by a drone, which shows the impact on usually pristine beaches

 

It is still unclear why the ship sank. Its owners insist it was seaworthy and that its documents were in order.

47 thoughts on “A black day, a black tide

    1. Who knows? Scuttling the ship to get the insurance? It’s hard to point a finger without proof, but ships don’t sink just like that. These tankers are built to withstand serious storms…

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  1. How appalling! Had not heard a peep about this, so perhaps they are keeping it out of the news. Hard to imagine how a ship that can travel across the sea can just spontaneously sink. Here’s hoping the responsible people will have to contribute to the clean up.

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  2. This has not been on the news here, but it should be. The circumstances of a seaworthy boat sinking at anchor in calm seas sound decidedly suspicious. Whatever the reason, the disaster of this oil spill is yet another blow to your overburdened country, and I have no words for how it must be affecting you.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. That is indeed sad to read, I remember the disaster we had in Tauranga, New Zealand a few years ago, the stench was overpowering!! You are so correct this is the last thing Greece needs as it has enough trouble finding money on the best of days and especially when the EU requires it to hand some over to them!!

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  4. Very sad, indeed, Mrs Kappa.

    I thought you were on vacation. Even then, you seem to work hard for us. We love being informed of the good and the bad.

    Hope all well with you,

    Love,

    Anna

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  5. I’m so sorry, that it could happen this….and nobody could do something in time to avoid it. We even cannot imagine how many “hearts are crying”! I just have in front of me the picture how it was…and how it may be now. I hope and wish that Help will come and do whatever is possible to clean the water as much as possible and the soonest is possible.

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  6. I know why that tanker sank – it hadn’t passed its swimming test and shouldn’t have been in the water without a life vest! We all know seaworthy vessels do not just sink without cause. With so many awful environmental catastrophes all around the world, this is not just one more, ho hum, it’s a a blight on people, all animals and plants, and the earth. What was sunk in the sea wasn’t just a tanker worth more on the bottom than the top of the water, but innumerable sea creatures and many local economies. Such a sad situation, and I’m positive, a man made disaster. I’m broken hearted for Athens.

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