Hazardous operations in the Laconian Gulf, a marine conservation area
Question for written answer E-003146/2022/rev.1
to the Commission
Petros Kokkalis (The Left)
The Laconian Gulf, with its extremely abundant fish stocks, is a Natura 2000 protected area (GR2540003) and host to nine habitat types and 13 priority species listed under Directive 92/43/ΕEC. These include in particular the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), which has been classified by the IUCN as an endangered/vulnerable species and whose principal nesting areas are located on the adjoining beaches. The above turtle species are also listed under the international Barcelona, Bern and Bonn Conventions, and CITES.
Notwithstanding the undoubted environmental importance of the Laconian Gulf, considerable numbers of large oil tankers have been observed in the area over the last few months. They remain for hours just beyond the limit of six nautical miles from the shore, which means that they are not required to undergo cargo checks or pay mooring fees. According to the Greek authorities, the vessels are engaged in ship-to-ship transfers (STSΤ) of petroleum products in international waters. At the same time, a large number of accidents involving oil tankers have been recorded in nearby sea areas.
In view of this:
- 1.Can the Commission say whether the above activities are in line with EU environmental legislation regarding the protection of this area?
- 2.How can the legality of these activities be monitored, given the acknowledgement by the national port authorities that their jurisdiction does not extend that far?
- 3.Are Member States entitled to adopt additional legislation in order to protect themselves from such activities?