Greek oil spill spreads to Athens Riviera

ATHENS (Reuters) - Crews scrambled on Wednesday to clean up an oil spill from a sunken tanker which had spread to some of Athens's most popular beaches.

The 45-year-old vessel, Agia Zoni II, was carrying 2,500 tonnes of fuel when it sank off the island of Salamis on Sunday. By Wednesday, a thick oily tide had covered stretches of the Athens Riviera several miles away.

See more photos from the spill:

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Oil spill off of Greece's Salamina island
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Oil spill off of Greece's Salamina island
Oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10, is seen on a beach on Salamina island, Greece, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
A bird covered in oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10, tries to stay afloat near the shores of Salamina island, Greece, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Rocks are covered with oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10 off the shores of Salamina island, Greece, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
Oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10, is seen on a beach on Salamina island, Greece, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
Oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10, is seen on a beach on Salamina island, Greece, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
A beach is seen covered with oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10 off the shores of Salamina island, Greece, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
A worker's shovel is covered with oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10 off the shores of Salamina island, on a beach at the suburb of Faliro in Athens, Greece, September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10 off the shores of Salamina island, is seen at a beach at the suburb of Faliro in Athens, Greece September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Locals look at a beach covered with oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10 off the shores of Salamina island, at the suburb of Faliro in Athens, Greece September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10, is seen on a beach on Salamina island, Greece, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
Workers clean a beach covered with oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10 off the shores of Salamina island, at the suburb of Faliro in Athens, Greece, September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
A worker stands on a beach covered with oil that leaked from a small oil tanker that sank on September 10 off the shores of Salamina island, at the suburb of Faliro in Athens, Greece, September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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"This is a catastrophe," said Fotis Yiamanis, a resident of the seafront neighborhood of Faliro, where Greeks enjoy morning swims several months of the year.

"Even if the oil leaves the surface of the water, the rest is going to sink and set in the sand. We'll step in and (our feet) will turn black."

The coast guard said authorities had sealed the shipwreck on Tuesday and there was no further spillage. Privately-owned tank trucks were working to clean up the pollution assisted by floating cranes and offshore anti-pollution vessels, it said.

At a small beach near Greece's biggest port, Piraeus, workers shoveled thick layers of black oil that washed ashore.

"You can't go near now. It stinks of oil," said Yannis Trikaminas, a local resident. "Who's going to go in there to swim?"

 

(Reporting by Vassilis Triandafyllou, Phoebe Fronista, Alkis Konstantinidis; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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