Greece struggles to mop up oil spill; critics demand more

ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities insisted Thursday they were doing everything they could to clean up the viscous, foul-smelling oil that has coated large parts of Athens’ coastline following the sinking of a small oil tanker.

The Agia Zoni II tanker sank Sunday while anchored in calm seas off the coast of Salamina island, near Greece’s main port of Piraeus, carrying 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil. Two crew members were rescued.

“All the means available in the country” are being deployed to tackle the spill in the Saronic Gulf, Merchant Marine Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis said Thursday.

“Things are developing very well and from day to day there is a huge improvement,” he said, adding that authorities estimate the “situation will have completely changed” in 25-30 days.

Greece has requested help from the European Union and a specialized cleanup vessel has been deployed.

Critics, however, have accused the government of not acting quickly enough prevent the spill from spreading from Salamina across the coastline.

The Saronic Gulf is home to dolphins, turtles, a wide variety of fish and sea birds. Environmental and wildlife organizations have been posting instructions on social media on how residents can help any stricken wildlife they come across.

It’s unclear why the ship sank. The vessel’s owner, Theodoros Kountouris, said on Epsilon TV that the ship, built in 1972, had been overhauled in 2014 to…

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