Greece stops seismic surveys off Corfu over whale strandings


Rescuers are seen during an operation to help a beaked whale washed up on a beach in Corfu [AMNA]

The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy has ordered the temporary shutdown of
seismic surveys in the northern Ionian Sea amid fears the activity was responsible for the recent stranding in shallow waters of three Cuvier’s beaked whales on the coast of Corfu island.

The three whales, which had no obvious health problems, were brought back to deep waters with the help of volunteers.

The Ministry’s Environmental Policy Directorate requested “immediate and detailed” information from ELPE Upstream, the company carrying out the seismic studies, and the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management on its compliance with the conditions included in the action plan. environmental, which was approved in May 2021. .

At the same time, the ministry ordered the research vessel SW Cook which carries out the surveys to leave the area until it is clarified whether this is related to the classification.

The move came after a letter from 15 environmental organizations was sent to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, demanding an immediate halt to all seismic work, linking it directly to animal disorientation.

NGOs noted that stopping studies when there is a suspicion of environmental damage is required not only by the company’s contract with the state, but also by national and international law.

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