Oil spill on Athens' beaches

For reasons that have yet to be clarified, a small oil tanker sank southwest of the port of Piraeus on Sunday. A black oil slick now covers the water off the beaches in the south of Athens. Greek papers criticise the authorities for failing to acknowledge the danger and describe what this environmental disaster means for the region.

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To Vima und To Vima Online (GR) /

Authorities ignored the danger

Writing in To Vima Dimitris Karavellas, director of WWF Hellas, laments that Greece chose to ignore the danger posed by goods traffic in the Mediterranean:

“The WWF pointed long ago to the growing pressure on routes in the Mediterranean and Greek waters. ... Unfortunately the maps that document the cargo ships' routes and the accidents testify to escalating problems. The state apparatus should have been constantly on guard, but this latest incident indicates that that wasn't the case. ... Like all environmental crises, this one should be managed by means of direct controls, rigorous implementation of environmental regulations and social alertness. Can we do this?”

Eleftheros Typos (GR) /

Give up dreams of drilling rigs

The Greeks must learn from this disaster, Giorgos Michalidis of the daily paper Eleftheros Typos writes:

“The residents see how the environment they live in is being destroyed and their health and daily lives threatened. No one can fish there any more, no one can leave their boat in these waters, and it's as good as certain that the groundwater will be contaminated. ... As I'm an optimistic man I believe that the authorities, albeit it with some delay, will manage to clean up the area. On the other hand we as a nation must finally learn from our mistakes. ... We must not allow such an accident to happen again and we must certainly give up all dreams of setting up drilling rigs in the Aegean that will make us rich.”