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News 12 Nov 15

Oil Slick in Durres Causes Outrage in Albania

Ships are still dumping their waste in the open sea off Albania, highlighting the need for tighter regulations on ships entering the country's ports.

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN
Tirana

Oil pollution that struck the beach of the Albanian port and resort of Durres a few days ago has revealed the negligence of institutions in preventing such situations.

Albania has also been slow in implementing regulations to ensure greater discipline regarding the waste management of ships anchored in the country's ports.

The Ministry of Environment a year ago proposed a regulation to the Council of Minister about imposing an environmental fee for all vessels anchored. 

Port of Durres | Photo: Wikimedia

Now, as a result of the lack of rules, some of them skip depositing their waste in the ports and do so in the open sea.The ministry told BIRN that the new regulation would seek to control the waste processing of all ships entering ports, forcing them to deposit their waste in a more organized way.

The ministry says the new regulation would encourage them to deposit their waste in the ports since they already have to pay the fee.

If the regulation is approved by the Council of Ministers, financial institutions will decide how much ships anchored in Albanian ports have to pay in environmental fees.

On Saturday, when locals spotted the polluted seashore in Durres, the Minister of Environment, Lefter Koka, said that the institutions in charge of guarding Albania's maritime water had shown their irresponsibility.

"Albanian institutions are sleeping, we can't tolerate any more situations like this. If we do not find the responsible ship which polluted the area soon I will propose that the Prime Minister fires all the representatives of these institutions," he said, inspecting the Durres shore.

The general prosecutor's office has started a probe into the incident and is collecting information from agencies to connect the dots and find out who was responsible.

It is still unclear if the oil came from a ship passing through Albanian territorial waters or if the vessel was anchored in the port of Durres, which is the biggest in the country.

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