Greece’s exploration for natural gas in the Aegean has led to concerns from Greenpeace that marine wildlife, such as dolphins and whales, will be under threat.

Greenpeace has issued a strong plea to Greece, urging the nation to abandon its ambitious deep-sea gas exploration venture with French oil company Total in the Mediterranean.

Citing recently released research, the environmental organization argues that the project’s impact on endangered whales and dolphins is far more significant than previously believed.

A survey conducted last year in the waters off southwestern Greece and Crete, areas slated for exploratory drilling, revealed the consistent presence of sea mammals throughout the year, both in the winter and summer, reaffirming previous findings.

The region under scrutiny for gas exploration largely coincides with the Hellenic Trench, encompassing the Mediterranean’s deepest waters at a staggering depth of 5,267 meters (17,300 feet).

This trench serves as a crucial habitat for the sea’s sparse population of sperm whales and other marine mammals already under threat from fishing, ship collisions, and plastic pollution.

Existing environmental safeguards for the project restrict exploration to the winter season to minimize adverse effects on whale and dolphin breeding periods.

However, a report published in the Endangered Species Research journal on Thursday indicates that at least four cetacean species, including sperm whales and Cuvier’s beaked whales, inhabit the area year-round.

Kostis Grimanis of Greenpeace Greece emphasized the enormous ecological significance of this Mediterranean region, condemning the government and oil companies for their relentless pursuit of hydrocarbon exploration in these waters.

He labeled it an absurd crime against nature that not only endangers iconic marine species but also jeopardizes the fight against the climate crisis by seeking to exploit undersea fossil fuels.

In 2019, Greece granted exploration rights for two seabed blocks south and southwest of Crete to an international energy consortium, while smaller projects are underway to the north.

This year, ExxonMobil and Greece’s Helleniq Energy completed a three-month seismic survey of the seabed in the two major blocks, with initial exploratory drilling potentially commencing in 2025, according to the Greek government.

Officials assure that the strictest environmental standards are being adhered to.

The seismic survey, involving the use of sonic blasts to identify potential gas deposits, raises concerns about its impact on sound-sensitive cetaceans.

Similar sonar technology used by warships has been linked to fatal consequences for whales, and experts suggest that seismic surveys can have similar effects.

Furthermore, drilling and gas extraction would introduce substantial undersea noise, as pointed out by environmentalists.

The recent report, compiled by Greenpeace Greece in collaboration with the University of Exeter and the Athens-based Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, documented encounters with at least five cetacean species, including 14 sperm whales, during the winter of 2022, following previous research conducted during the summer months.

Euronews / ABC Flash Point News 2023.

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30-10-23 03:20

Boycotting Russian gas, and now a French company wants to fill in the void by destroying wildlife, luring Greece into a money pyramid scheme.

30-10-23 07:39

I am afraid Greenpeace although outwardly looking very “ECO ” are not all they seem –as Grafkaffer say they “approved ” the boycotting of Russian-natural- clean -non radiated -non-fracked gas while keeping their mouths tight shut as regards USA- fracked-dirty-radiated LPG transported 1000,s of miles by tanker fueled by –bunker fuel the cheapest-dirtiest fuel available causing massive pollution greater than many countries. Note too -not a word about Zionist gas drilling in the Leviathan gas field with the help of US firms -UK firms-even Swedish firms who like calling themselves “ECO friendly ” which they are not . Israel intends… Read more »