Alfa I, Greece, 5 March 2012

Posted: 19/09/2012
Categories: News – Incidents

On 5 March 2012, the Greek-registered tanker Alfa I hit a submerged object while crossing Elefsis Bay, near Piraeus, Greece and sank in 18-20 metres of water. The incident also resulted in the tragic loss of the master’s life.
An unknown quantity of oil was released from the tanker. Oil impacted some 13 kilometres along the shoreline of Elefsis Bay, contaminating a number of local beaches. Clean-up operations were conducted at sea and on the shoreline.
It is not known whether Alfa I was carrying more than 2 000 tonnes of persistent oil at the time of her sinking since the information available to the Secretariat is not complete.
Since the tonnage of Alfa I (1 648 GT) is below 5 000 units of tonnage, the limitation amount applicable under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (1992 CLC) is 4.51 million SDR (€5.53 million). The tanker had an insurance policy limited to €2 million which did not cover pollution by persistent oil.
The 1992 Fund has appointed experts and a Greek lawyer to monitor and investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. In May 2012, members of the Secretariat met with the shipowner’s insurer and visited the site of the incident and the areas contaminated by the spill.
In June 2012, the Elefsis Harbour Master imposed a fine on the shipowner in respect of the pollution due to the incident for the amount of €150 000 and issued an order for the reimbursement of the costs and expenses of the Greek State for the clean-up operation amounting to €260 000.
In August 2012, the clean up contractors submitted a claim to the owners of the Alfa I for the sum of €13.3 million, covering the period from 5 March to 30 June 2012. The information provided is being examined by the Secretariat. Further information is contained in document IOPC/OCT12/3/14, issued by the Secretariat for consideration by the 1992 Fund Executive Committee at its 56th session.

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