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Spill Notification Point
Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC)
Ministry of Mercantile Marine (MMM) Hellenic Coast Guard 150 Grigoriou Lambraki Str. GR-18518 Piraeus
Tel: +30 210 411 2500 or +30 210 419 1508 or +30 210 419 1325 or +30 210 412 1211
Fax: +30 210 413 2398 or +30 210 422 4417 or +30 210 419 1561 or +30 210 411 5798
Competent National Authority
Marine Environment Protection Division (MEPD)
Ministry of Mercantile Marine (MMM) 109 Ipsilantou Street GR-18532 Piraeus
Tel: +30 210 419 1132 or +30 210 4121 211 (24 hrs) or +30 210 4121 211 (24 hrs) or +30 210 422 0701 or +30 210 419 1351
Fax: +30 210 422 0440 or +30 210 422 0441 or +30 210 4224417/4220466/4191561/4191563/4115798 (24 hrs)
Under the Greek national contingency plan responsibility for marine pollution response lies with the Marine Environment Protection Division (MEPD) of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, both manned by personnel of the Hellenic Coast Guard. The level of response to an oil spill is determined by MEPD, depending on the scale of the emergency.
For a small spill, the response would be coordinated locally by one of the 50 port authorities under the direction of the Port Captain. 15 Regional Marine Pollution Combating Stations (RMPCS) have been established in the major ports of Alexandroupoli, Chania, Chios, Elefsis (central storage house), Isthmia, Kabala, Mirina, Neapoli Voion, Patra, Pilos, Piraeus, Rodos, Syros, Thessaloniki, Volos. These stations would assist local ports and coordinate response to larger spills. MEPD would assume control in a larger spill and would deploy national resources to assist the local or regional resources. An Interministerial Committee may be established chaired by the Minister of Mercantile Marine, with representation from the Coast Guard, the Navy, the Institute of Oceanographic & Fishery Research and the Environment Ministry.
The above authorities coordinate the response, with clean-up being carried out with their own equipment and private resources on contract to either the Ministry or, more usually, directly to the involved shipowner. Shoreline clean-up is normally undertaken by either the municipal authorities or by contractors, or a combination of the two, supplemented by MEPD resources if required. In the case of spills of unknown origin, clean-up is undertaken by the Coast Guard.
The Greek contingency plan specifies mechanical recovery as the primary response option in coastal areas. Dispersant use is permitted only in high seas outside enclosed and sensitive sea areas, when mechanical recovery is impossible due to weather and sea conditions. Official authorisation by the MEPD is required prior to dispersant use. Standard dispersant testing and approval procedures exist in Greece. Dispersants that have been approved for use in other EU Member States may also be considered, following certification by the State Chemical Laboratory. Oily waste is normally disposed of in approved inland sites.
The MEPD has two spill response vessels, an aircraft for aerial surveillance and 2 spraying aircraft. Other equipment maintained includes dispersants and spraying equipment, adapted to fit harbour tugs in use at the Coast Guard stations, as well as containment and recovery equipment for use at sea and in sheltered waters. The Regional Stations each have a trained team of personnel.
By law, all coastal installations (terminals, industrial plants) must have a local plan. This includes having the means to deal with a spill resulting from their own operations, i.e. skimmers, boom, pumps and dispersant. The port commanders inspect and record this capability periodically. It can be called upon by the Ministry in case of an emergency. Several private clean-up contractors are available, operating mainly from Piraeus.
Previous Spill Experience
The MESSINIAKI FRONTIS (1979) grounded off southern Crete spilling 7,000 tonnes of crude. Much of the spilled oil dispersed at sea although a limited amount of shoreline clean-up was required. Following the fire, explosion and sinking of the IRENES SERENADE (1980) and the grounding of the ILIAD (1993), both in Pylos harbour, the Coast Guard requested that the tanker owner assist with the resultant clean-up response. In the latter case, this was facilitated by mechanical recovery and shoreline clean-up by a private contractor. The GEROI CHERNOMORYA (1992) spilled 8,000 tonnes of crude in the Aegean Sea following a collision. Most of the oil dispersed naturally but parts of Mykonos Island were lightly oiled. A contractor undertook the clean-up supervised by the port authority. LA GUARDIA (1994) collided with refinery supply pipes spilling 400 tonnes of heavy crude oil whilst manoeuvring out of dock at the Aspropyrgos Hellenic Refinery. The KRITI SEA (1996) spilt 300 tonnes of Arabian light crude oil whilst loading at the Motor Oil Refinery Installations at Agioi Theordori port, Isthmia. The waste oil reception facility SLOPS (2000) suffered an explosion and caught fire at an anchorage in the port of Piraeus. An unknown but substantial quantity of oil was spilled, some of which burned in the ensuing fire. M/V EUROBULKER X (2000) leaked 500 tonnes of fuel oil/diesel oil in Lefkandi, central Greece.
Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS)
The competent authority for dealing with marine pollution involving HNS is the Ministry of Mercantile Marine and the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre. Greece covers response to HNS in its NCP. According to the Plan, a National Advisory Committee has been established, consisting of representatives from all the bodies involved. Special scientific advisers may also help the committee. Greece’s capability for responding to marine incidents is very limited and mainly relies on the same resources as for oil pollution response. Although HNS incidents are covered in the national plan, there is a lack of specialised antipollution means and equipment. The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research can provide scientific advice on HNS. Greece has not had any previous experience of marine incidents involving HNS. (Information from EMSA, 2008)
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
- Barcelona Convention (with states bordering the Mediterranean).
- Bilateral agreement with Italy (covering the Ionian Sea).
- Member of the European Community Task Force.
For further information see also REMPEC (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea) Country Profile (http://www.rempec.org/country.asp?cid=8&IDS=2_1&daNme=General%20Information&openNum=1)
Date of issue: December 2011
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