Gov’t slammed for slow re­sponse to tanker spill

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Work­ers clean a beach As an oil slick from a sunken tanker spread along the cap­i­tal’s south­ern coast­line yes­ter­day, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment for its slow re­sponse to what some ex­perts de­scribed as an en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter.

Shipping Min­is­ter Panayi­o­tis Kourou­b­lis in­sisted that au­thor­i­ties were on top of the sit­u­a­tion yes­ter­day, just a few hours af­ter in­di­cat­ing that he would be pre­pared to re­sign over the af­fair if he was asked to. Af­ter con­duct­ing an in­spec­tion of the af­fected ar­eas aboard a coast guard ves­sel, the min­is­ter claimed that the sit­u­a­tion was “sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved.” In com­ments later gov­ern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los de­fended Kourou­b­lis, adding how­ever that Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras was be­ing briefed on the sit­u­a­tion and would judge the min­is­ter’s ac­tions.

The po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion hit out at the gov­ern­ment for not re­act­ing sooner to the sink­ing of the Agia Zoni II tanker, which foundered off Salam­ina on Sun­day. New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis, who vis­ited beaches af­fected by the spill, ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of “be­ing caught un­pre­pared for a dis­as­ter that hap­pened in the port [of Pi­raeus],” sug­gest­ing that a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a larger ves­sel in a re­mote lo­ca­tion would have been be­yond the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties to con­tain.

It re­mained un­clear yes­ter­day what ex­actly caused the Agia Zoni II to sink off Salam­ina. How­ever, the Hel­lenic Reg­is­ter of Shipping is­sued a state­ment say­ing that the tanker had not been cer­ti­fied as sea­wor­thy. Mean­while, the pres­i­dent of the coun­try’s sailors’ union, Gior­gos Dalako­gior­gos, told Kathimerini that the full crew had not been aboard the tanker when it sank. The two crew mem­bers who were aboard the ves­sel were picked up safely be­fore it went down.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.