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Σημερινό δημοσίευμα στην Tradewinds για τα ναυάγια στην Ελευσίνα με δηλώσεις και του προέδρου του ΟΛΕ Χαράλαμπου Γαργαρέτα.

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D-Day looms for Greece’s zombie ships

Meet the man who is determined to clean up Europe’s most notorious ship graveyard

February 19th, 2019 08:17 GMT

 

Few ships have a past as glorious as the Evgenia P. The 1944-built vessel was baptised by fire, serving with Allied forces at Normandy on D-Day.

Seventy-five years on from 6 June 1944, the Evgenia P is suffering a miserable death as a slowly submerging rust bucket at Elefsina, a dreary Greek industrial backwater just west of Athens.

The Evgenia P is among dozens of vessels decaying in one of Europe’s biggest ship graveyards. The Gulf of Elefsina used to be one of Greece’s few shipbreaking locations. Over the years, it acquired a reputation as a place where vessels could be demolished or abandoned without authorities asking too many bothersome questions.

The Evgenia P is a case in point. Sold by the Greek Navy to private interests, the former landing craft was repurposed as a 434-gt ferry servicing remote island routes. Creditors eventually arrested it after its owner went bust. In 2011, it was dumped at Elefsina.

The ship has been rotting away there ever since, moored at a quay across the road from a nondescript retail store. It is listing to port, half its bridge has collapsed and its stern has settled in the water. An unknown squatter lived onboard until a fire broke out, causing even more damage to the hull. Nobody knows what caused the blaze, or cares enough to find out.

1ef3b440e5af7e9f1dae24467fbcf200Fought in Normandy, rusting in Elefsina: the Evgenia P. Photo: Harry Papachristou

Decades of such official negligence have resulted in nearly 50 abandoned ships cluttering the area. Some have already sunk, others are barely above water. Even those still floating will eventually submerge and become wrecks at some point if they are not removed.

“There’s a spot where three wrecks sit literally on top of each other. All these ships are polluting the environment and pose a danger to navigation,” says Charalampos Gargaretas, the 34-year-old chief executive of the Elefsina Port Authority (EPA), who is at the forefront of efforts to clean up the mess.

390895e152ba8cbf3964105b86569d70Charalampos Gargaretas reckons the time has come for drastic measures. Photo: Harry Papachristou

Getting rid of the ghost ships is easier said than done. Under Greek law, it is primarily the owners’ duty to pay for their removal. Identifying and tracking down owners, however, is devilishly hard after all these years. For more than a year now, EPA staff have been digging up documents at ship registries, agents, port authorities and classification societies to ferret them out.

Even then, it is equally difficult to make the former owners foot shipbreaking bills and pay decades of debts to the port authority, creditors or social security funds. Only a couple have owned up to their responsibility so far, agreeing to pay for their ships’ demolition and removal.

To concentrate owners’ minds and speed things up, Gargaretas is taking more drastic measures. His administration is starting to invoke an environmental law from 2001, which allows port authorities to seize ships and order their demolition.

23199db19b02061bc7eadd19a7441e2dThree more of the dozens of abandoned ships that litter the Gulf of Elefsina. Photo: Thanassis Stavra /AP/Scanpix

The EPA began using this procedure last month. A tender was published seeking private contractor bids to remove three abandoned vessels, the Anna M, Elefantas and Drepano. Their auction is due on 6 March, with the minimum reserve price set at €180 ($205) per ldt.

Similar enbloc sales are in the pipeline. The biggest and most spectacular by far would be the 11,600-gt Mediterranean Sky (built 1953), a passengership that lies half-sunk on its side a few metres off Elefsina’s rocky coast.

Most wrecks and dangerous vessels should, ideally, be removed by 2021, when the town becomes one of Europe’s three Cultural Capitals — a distinction it owes largely to its distant past, when a local temple hosted the Eleusinian Mysteries, one of antiquity’s most celebrated cults.

“It would be tragic if visitors, media and officials flocking here in 2021 face that ugly view,” Gargaretas tells TW+.

The irony is that some residents view his efforts with suspicion. Deep-seated distrust, born of decades of bitter experience with negligent authorities, have stirred fears that the EPA’s drive to remove the wrecks will only turn the town into a haven of lawless shipbreaking again.

“It’s easy to criticise in theory, but people need to understand that these ships are not going to disappear by magic,” Gargaretas says.

 

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Ειδα το πρωί,ενα heavy lifter , το Treasury One, να κουβαλάει κατι μικρα καραβάκια πάνω του, μετά σε φωτογραφία που ανεβηκε στο ΦΒ,ηταν σαν μικρά τανκεράκια,έχει πάει τώρα στα Διυλιστήρια ,ουσιαστικά εκεί που δένουν κατα καιρούς επιβατηγά ή μεγάλες θαλαμηγοί ,γράφει και PrivatSea στο AIS.

Αναρωτιέμαι έχει έρθει να αφήσει αυτά τα 2 μικρά η  να πάρει καμια μεγάλη θαλαμηγό.Είναι και δυσκολο το σημείο που έχει δέσει...

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Έφερε δύο μπαριζες της Aegean από τη Σιγκαπούρη, πρόκειται για το Kohyli (IMO No 9823651) και για το Asterias (IMO No 9823649). Οι φωτογραφίες είναι από το πλοηγό κ. Καλκατζακο. 

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Οποτε τις βλέπω να δραστηροποιουνται εδω συντομα....

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