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Mykonos is facing the risk of an environmental disaster

11 March 2014 / 13:03:29  GRReporter
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A Turkish container ship has wrecked near the north coast of the island of Mykonos in the Aegean Sea, alarming the port authorities as it is threatening with an environmental disaster the cosmopolitan Greek island shortly before the start of the tourist season.
The management of the coast guard service reports that the 19-year-old Turkish vessel carrying 204 containers has 200 tons of oil in its tanks and has caused, at least so far, limited pollution in the area.

To deal with the pollution the authorities have enforced the regional crisis plan in order to prevent the fuel, diesel and lubricants carried by the ship from causing an environmental disaster. However, the strong wind that is blowing in the area, reaching 8 on the Beaufort scale, is hampering the start of the operation that will drain the fuel out of the vessel.

A cutter of the coast guard service and a private boat are on site, monitoring the course of developments.

“Yusuf Cepnioglou” ship had 14 crew members. All Turkish sailors as well as the captain and the mate refused to be rescued by the Greek authorities and were finally air-lifted by a helicopter of the U.S. Navy. Now the crew members are on the island of Mykonos where the investigation has already started. According to unconfirmed information from the port authorities, the data available reveals that probably, the Turkish captain was to blame for the vessel being stranded on the rocks, as he admitted that he had fallen asleep.

Mayor of Mykonos Irini Gripari states for Ethnos newspaper that the good thing so far is the fact that, despite the strong wind, the ship has not moved, which reduces the risk of spillage of a large amount of fuel.

Eleven crew members were rescued by the rescue cutter of the coast guard service and another member of the crew by a private boat helping in the rescue operation.

The other two members of the crew, namely the captain and the first mate of the ship, remained on board the ship on their own initiative, awaiting instructions from the company owning the vessel, and refused to leave, despite the repeated calls from the Super Puma helicopter of the Air Force, which was on the site of the accident.

While the helicopter was waiting on the island of Mykonos, ready to set off to the site, the situation of the ship had suddenly deteriorated and the lives of the two sailors were at risk.

Eventually, the captain and the mate were rescued by a helicopter of the U.S. Navy, which was helping in the operation.

Tags: MykonosTurkish shipEnvironmental disasterYusuf Cepniogloushipwreck
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