Yesterday's marine pollution clean-up exercise in the sea just off the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre was a complete success.
The exercise was jointly organised by ATHENS 2004 and Techniki Prostasias Perivallontos S.A., an environmental protection company who have put their staff and equipment at the disposal of the Organising Committee, free of charge, for the duration of the Olympic Games.
According to the exercise scenario, an unidentified tanker spilled fuel oil residues into the sea during the night, threatening Olympic Venues. Because of the wind's direction, the oil residue flowed towards the area where the sailing competition will take place, and towards the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre.
The company's expert staff and specially designed craft sprang to action to deal with the incident. It was not long before they managed to hem in the oil residue, collect it with special craft, and clean up the sea using specialised counter-pollution material.
Following the exercise, ATHENS 2004 Environment Manager, Christina THEOCHARI, gave a comprehensive briefing and, assessing the exercise, pronounced it a complete success: "We are perfectly equipped to deal with similar pollution incidents at Games-time, at both the Agios Kosmas Olympic Rowing Centre and the Vouliagmeni Olympic Centre".
Oceanographer Vasileios Mamaloukas-Fragkoulis, Head of the Marine Environment Protection Department and the exercise supervisor, affirmed that the exercise had been part of a general implementation of plans to anticipate and obstruct externally caused sea pollution that would threaten the outcome of the Games.
"The exercise went really well",
he maintained, "proving that we are on a quite satisfactory level".
The counter-pollution boats used for the exercise can collect and store oil residue. The exercise equipment also included a specially formulated floating barrier, which was to block any residue from flowing into the Agios Kosmas Marina. In addition, the boats were used to demonstrate the clean up of seawater and there was another display of techniques for cleaning up the coast of debris and petrol residue with mechanical equipment.