The sinking of a small oil tanker in the Saronic Gulf in the early morning hours of Sunday has dumped 2,570 tons of heavy fuel oil into the waters south of the greater Athens area.
Three days later oil slicks have blackened several coastlines stretching from the Piraiki seafront, east of the port of Piraeus, to the adjacent Saronic island of Salamina and as far southeast as the Aghios Kosmas beach, in front of the one-time Athens airport at Helleniko.
Several vessels were dispatched to the sea region as part of efforts to contain, breakup and collect as much of the mazut-type fuel as possible. Tankers were also headed to contaminated beaches in a bid to drain the now tar-like fuel from the sand and rocks.
The vessel that went down was identified as the Agia Zoni II, with its ship owning company listed also as Agia Zoni.
The incident generated criticism of the government and the relevant shipping ministry due to what critics charge was the slow reaction to the sinking and subsequent oil spill.