Arrests after undeclared fuel found in tanker used to empty ‘Agia Zoni II’ shipwreck

The ship used to pump fuel from the sunken tanker “Agia Zoni II” lacked the necessary paperwork for some 45-55 cubic metres of crude oil mix found in its ballast tanks, coast guard officials informed the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday.

The oil tanker “Lassaia” was enlisted to pump some 2,500 tonnes of oil that went down with the shipwrecked tanker, which sank southwest of Atalanti.

Coast guard sources said the exact quantity of petroleum fuels inside the “Lassaia” has not yet been measured. In the meantime, authorities have arrested the ship’s captain and first engineer for fuel smuggling and they were led before a Piraeus public prosecutor later on Wednesday afternoon.

The “Lassaia” has been confiscated and is now anchored off the coast of Aspropyrgos, while no other oil tanker has yet approached to “Agia Zoni II” to resume the work of emptying its tanks. The undeclared fuel was discovered during an inspection conducted by coast guard officers with the assistance of customs officials.

Responding to the incident, the owner of the “Agia Zoni II” said the company bears no responsibility if the pollution should spread further, “given that it is not yet clearly established with evidence that this is due to the sinking of the tanker.”

The company pointed out that the certificate of seaworthiness for the “Lassaia” expired on September 19 and that it had requested to offload the oil it had harvested from the shipwreck at Hellenic Petroleum before that date.

“For reasons unknown to us, this did not happen, which means that the above ship has been anchored offshore since yesterday, fully loaded and uninsured due to its lack of seaworthiness, with all the risks that this entails,” the shipping firm’s announcement said.