By Bejay Browne
MARINE police in Paphos are investigating two alleged cases of vessels dumping waste in Paphos waters in the last month, according to local authorities.
Andreas Chrysanthou, who heads the municipality’s beaches committee, said he has been left speechless by the latest alleged actions.
“These people have no conscience and they are doing this on purpose. I have no words, but I’m monitoring the situation closely,” he said.
According to Chrysanthou the allegations are being examined by the marine police who are preparing a report for the shipping department, the responsible body for penalising illegalities.
“I am demanding that in any cases where there is evidence of vessels dumping waste in our waters, the severest punishments must be afforded to the perpetrators and could result in hefty fines, loss of licences and even jail time. This type of action is disgusting,” he added.
Chrysanthou said the first of the two documented incidents being investigated involved a small cruise ship pumping human effluent into the sea. The second saw a tuna fishing vessel emptying human waste into the waters of the port.
The beaches head said that at present, a number of boats are dumping waste wherever and whenever they want, pumping sewage and other waste out of tanks into the water.
“Many of them are doing it at night so that even the boat’s passengers wouldn’t see,” he said.
The Paphos councilor said a specialised moveable pump serving all ships using the port will enable them to properly empty their septic tanks.
“A 25m flexible hose will be connected to the pier and they will empty waste that way.”
The department of merchant shipping had assured authorities that if vessels were found to be in breach of the law during annual inspections their operating licence would be revoked. Officials said to the best of their knowledge no licences have been revoked so far this year.
Chrysanthou said that witnesses have reported that small cruise ships and vessels were the biggest culprits, despite a raft of stringent measures which are in place to prevent such actions.
“The severest punishments must be implemented, it’s the only way to get through to these people” he said
Paphos experienced some of the worst ever pollution in its seas last year, mostly consisting of human effluence.