Wednesday 13 September 2017

Cleanup operation underway after oil tanker sinks in the Saronic Gulf

A cleanup operation is underway on the Greek island of Salamis, to the west of Athens, after an oil tanker sank in the Saronic Gulf on Sunday 10 September 2017. The Agia Zoni II began to take on water while at anchor off the island, and sank rapidly before the cause of the problem was determined. The tanker was carrying about 2200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil (light diesel) when it sank. About 2.5 km of beach has been affected on the east coast of Salamis, with witnesses reporting a slick about 10 cm deep when it reached the shore. Oil has also reached beaches around the port of Piraeus.

Cleanup operation on the island of Salamis following the sinking of an oil tanker in the Saronic Gulf this week. Petros Giannakouris/AP.

An operation to start pumping any remaining oil off the tanker is due to start today (13 Spetember 2017) and are expected to last about 20 days. The cause of the vessel's sinking is unclear, as the ship was at anchor in mild weather when it went down, though local news sources have been quick to point out that the vessel was 45 years old when it sank. Officials on Salamis, where the local economy is largely reliant on tourism, are considereing legal action against the ship's owners.

 The position of the Agia Zion II when it sank. Vessel Finder.

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