The captain and 1st engineer of a vessel involved in oil-spill cleanup efforts in Greece have been arrested on fuel smuggling charges, Greek Merchant Ministry said.
Namely, the Lassea vessel has been contracted to help clean the oil that spilled following the sinking of the oil tanker Agia Zoni II off the Port of Piraeus on September 10. The vessel had 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil on board.
The duo was arrested after significant quantities of fuel were found and seized from the vessel without proper documentation.
The Piraeus Port Authority, which is in charge of the preliminary investigation, seized the vessel while the arrested are to be brought before the Prosecutor of Piraeus, the ministry said.
The oil spill recovery efforts have been vehemently criticized as inadequate and delayed, with opposition parties asking for a resignation from the country’s Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis.
The minister refuted the allegations, saying that immediate mobilization of relevant assets was made to curb the spill.
With regard to safety threats posed by the 1972-built Agia Zoni II, the minister said that the ship, according to the owner, passed all security checks before the incident.
It is estimated that the oil recovery efforts might last for another month.