Greece’s Ministry of Shipping is to replace the tanker being used to pump oil from the sunken ship that is polluting the coastline because its Certificate of Seaworthiness is about to expire.
On Tuesday, Shipping Deputy Minister Nektarios Santorinios said that the swap would not delay the pumping operation for more than a few hours.
The ecological disaster caused by the spilling of 2,500 tons of fuel oil after the sinking of Agia Zoni II tanker on September 10, has turned the blue waters of the Saronic Gulf coastline into a black sea.
The areas of Salamis, Agios Kosmas, Elliniko and Glyfada face the most serious marine pollution problems, while oil slick has reached as far south as Kavouri, according to the Ministry of Shipping sources. At the moment, 1,500 cubic meters of cargo from the wreck of Agia Zoni II, have been repaired.
The beaches along the coast have been deserted by bathers and visitors, and sea front businesses have lost all their customers, due to the smell and appalling sight of the sea. Fishing boats have also been tied in the marinas, since fishing in the Saronic Gulf area, has been prohibited.
Coastal municipalities and many volunteers have been working to clean the coast line, while more oil from the sea, keeps spewing onto the beaches. A marine scientist who spoke on SKAI TV, argued that it may take as many as ten years before the coastal ecosystem returns to the pre-oil spill state it was in. In addition to the harm done to the beaches and businesses along the coast, the oil which has spilled into the water, has greatly harmed marine life in the Saronic Gulf, where numerous dolphins, turtles, seals and a variety of other fish and sea birds live.