Over the past twenty years the Institute of Oceanography of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, acting either as an adviser to the Hellenic state and/or taking into account the provisions of the National Emergency Plan on oil pollution incidents, has carried out a series of monitoring surveys in the Hellenic seas in order to study the possible environmental impacts of maritime accidents on the marine ecosystem. Major maritime accidents included the “Eurobulker” oil spill case in the Southern Evvoikos Gulf in 2000, the “Sea Diamond” cruiser wreck case in Caldera area in Santorini Island in 2007, the “Yusuf Cepnioglou” wreck case in Mykonos Island in 2014, the “Agia Zoni II” tanker oil spill case in the Saronikos Gulf in 2017 e.t.c.
In all of the above cases the Institute of Oceanography of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research has pursued a multidisciplinary ecosystemic approach, using state-of-the-art apparatus and analytical methods, in order to monitor the possible short-, medium- and long- term impacts of the incidents in the marine ecosystem. The survey efforts focused on, but not limited to, the following axes: (a) recording of the physical characteristics of seawater and sea current measurements; (b) recording of chemical pollution in seawater and sediments; (c) assessment of the ecological status of the impacted areas as provided by the relevant European directives; (d) study of the possible bioaccumulation of pollutants in marine organisms (i.e. mussels, fish); and (e) optical mapping of the seabed on regions affected by the accidents.
The existence of long time series of data on the ecological and pollution status of the marine ecosystem in the Hellenic Seas spanning the last decades, collected by H.C.M.R. in the framework of various national and International research projects, assures the proper evaluation of the obtained results in order to reliably investigate any possible consequence of maritime accidents on the overall marine ecosystem health.