ATHENS – An oil tanker that sank off Piraeus this summer and leaked oil into the port area and beaches has a gash in the hull, photographs and video taken as it was being lifted from the Saronic Gulf showed, with the owner claiming it was tampered with.
The Agia Zoni II sank in September while at anchor off Salamina and leaked its cargo, sending a slick onto beaches on the island and the southern coast of Athens at the end of the summer season, setting off criticism from rival political parties that the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition had done nothing to regulate the industry.
The Captain was on board at the time as well as the engineer, who said he heard a loud noise like a door slamming, just before the tanker started taking in water and listing. They were rescued by a passing ship as the tanker sank. An investigation is still ongoing.
Immediately, the the Agia Zoni’s owner, Thodoris Kountouris, said the ship was deliberately sunk without indicating who may have caused it.
A large inward-facing gash seen beneath the waterline of the tanker’s hull after it was pulled up show that may be the case, said Kathimerini, though the expert assigned by the prosecutor to investigate the case has not reach any conclusions yet.
Some analysts earlier said the gash could have been caused by the ship hitting a rock while sailing, but the likelihood that it occurred while the Agia Zoni was at anchor has brought about different scenarios as an explanation.