WWF takes legal action against anyone responsible for the oil spill polluting the coasts and sea of Athens.

© George Moutafis

The oil spill caused by the 45 year-old tanker Agia Zoni II in the Saronikos Gulf on September 10 is an environmental crisis that needs to be dealt with in a paradigmatic manner.

The tanker was carrying roughly 2,500 tonnes of fuel oil and marine gas oil. While the hull has now been sealed and the leakage is reported to have stopped, an unknown quantity of the load was leaked into the water. Oil slicks have covered beaches of the island of Salamina and have extended across the popular and ecologically sensitive coastline of southern Athens.

The legal basis of WWF Greece’s lawsuit, which was submitted to the Public Prosecutor of Piraeus on September 18th, are the two most important EU directives on environmental justice based on the criminal law: Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law and Directive 2005/35/EC on ship-source pollution and criminal penalties.

According to Demetres Karavellas, Director General of WWF Greece, “since the tragedy was not avoided, we must at least ensure that anyone responsible will be held liable and justice will be served in an exemplary manner, so as to prevent similar crimes from happening in the future. Environmental protection is now in the hands of Justice. The sea is common heritage, the sea is life. We are here to make sure crimes against Greece’s ecological treasures do not go unpunished”.

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