On 5th March 2012, the Greek tanker ALFA I (1,648 GT; built 1972) made contact with a submerged wreck while crossing Elefsis Bay near Piraeus, Greece. This resulted in a 30m lateral shear to the hull and ALFA I sunk shortly after, resulting in the tragic loss of the Captain. At the time of the incident, it was reported that ALFA I was carrying 300 tonnes of Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO) 180, 1,499 tonnes of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) 380 and ~250 tonnes of Marine Gas Oil (MGO). An unknown amount of oil (but estimated to be less than 100 tonnes) was released from the vessel. The first reports of oiling were made by the Port Authorities on 6th March 2012.
Booms were placed around the wreck of the vessel whilst salvage operations took place. By the end of April 2012, all the pumpable oils located in the wreck were successfully recovered, counting for 90% of the estimated amount of oil on board at the time of the incident. Manual clean-up operations of the contaminated shoreline in Elefsis Bay were carried out from March to the following June by a local contractor, primarily to remove contaminated beach material.
The incident qualified under the 1992 Fund Convention, and the IOPC Fund paid EUR 12 million as compensation to the main clean-up contractor.
ITOPF arrived on site shortly after the incident at the request of the vessel’s insurer, to work with the owner-appointed surveyors and the oil spill response contractor, surveying the incident area and gaining an understanding of the pollution extent. ITOPF worked subsequently with the IOPC Funds on the assessment of claims for the clean-up activities.