Greeks demand answers as government struggles to mop up oil spill
Critics have accused the government of not acting quickly enough to prevent the spill from spreading from Salamina island across to the coastline.
Greek authorities are insisting they are doing everything they can to clean up the viscous, foul-smelling oil that has coated large parts of Athens’ coastline following the sinking of a small oil tanker.
The Agia Zoni II sank on Sunday while anchored in calm seas off the coast of Salamina island, near Greece’s main port of Piraeus, carrying 2,200 tonnes of fuel oil and 370 tonnes of marine gas oil. Two crew members were rescued.
“All the means available in the country” are being deployed to tackle the spill in the Saronic Gulf, Merchant Marine Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis said on Thursday.
“Things are developing very well and from day to day there is a huge improvement,” he said, adding that authorities estimate the “situation will have completely changed” in 25-30 days.
Greece has requested help from the European Union and a specialized cleanup vessel has been deployed.
Critics, however, have accused the government of not acting quickly enough prevent the spill from spreading from Salamina across the coastline.
The Saronic Gulf is home to dolphins, turtles, a wide variety of fish and sea birds. Environmental and wildlife organizations have been posting instructions on social media on how residents can help any stricken wildlife they come across.