It has been described as an ‘‘environmental disaster”. Some of Greece’s most pristine beaches left blackened after a huge
oil spill from a sunken tanker.
The Aya Zoni II, a 45-year-old ship, sank under anchor near the island of Salamis on Sunday night. It was carrying around 2,500 tonnes of fuel, some of which quickly covered beaches and coves on the southeastern side of the island, opposite Athens and Piraeus port. The oil has now spread to suburbs in the capital.
Locals have described the event as a catastrophe.
“It will take at least two years for it to leave, I don’t want to exaggerate, I’m saying, minimum two years. Even if the oil leaves the surface of the water, the rest is going to sink and set in the sand. We’ll step in it and our feet will turn black,” one man said.
More than 10 anti-pollution vessels were deployed on Wednesday in the effort to contain the spread of the spill. Greece’s shipping ministry said private contractors have been brought in to help contain the spill.
“The ship owner has called clean-up crews in within a very short period of time – in less than four hours. The operation is sufficient and effective,” Dionyssis Kalamatianos, Secretary-General of the Greek Shipping ministry said.
Despite that confidence, there are fears thousands of marine animals, both above and under the water could be affected.