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Greece exhumes decades-old ship graveyard amid fears of environmental hazard

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Greece exhumes decades-old ship graveyard amid fears of environmental hazard
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Dozens of abandoned ships have lain dormant near Greece's major port of Piraeus for decades.

Now Greek authorities want to drag the rusting giants back up from the depths.

They say the vessels are both an environmental hazard and a danger to modern shipping, as they can cause navigation issues for modern boats as well as pollution.

"From the port of Piraeus to the island of Salamina that lies off of Elefsina, the sea is littered with 52 such shipwrecks," Dimosthenis Bakopoulos, Head of the Public Ports Authority, told The Associated Press.

"You don't need to be a scientist to understand that shipwrecks are an environmental timebomb which degrades the environment of seaside municipalities," he added.

Authorities introduced a motion where the abandoned ships can be repossessed by the state.

Salvage companies can then break up the vessels and remove the remains — work they will carry out with no charge to the state in return for being able to keep and sell the scrap metal they collect.