The captain of the oil tanker Prestige that sank and caused environmental oil disaster in Spain in 2002 was acquitted. The tragic disaster is believed to be the worst in the history of the country. The oil spill poisoned a huge area of the coastline.
Apostolos Mangouras(the captain) of the oil tanker Prestige was not found responsible for the oil disaster in 2002 by the Spanish court for environmental crime. But he was convicted for not following the orders of Spanish officials in their attempt to rescue the ship Prestige. The sentence of the Apostolos Mangouras is 9 months in jail. Legal experts find the sentence to be unlikely for a person who has no previous criminal record.
The captain had luck because he was faced by 12 years in prison if he had been convicted of environmental crime. Another members of the crew a Greek officer, Nikolaos Argyropoulos and Jose Luis Lopez-Sors, former director general of Spain's Merchant Marine Department, the only Spanish government official charged in the case were acquitted.
The Spanish court did not discover the cause of the incident so the crew of the oil tanker Prestige could not be found responsible.
No one could find the cause for the environmental disaster caused by the oil tanker and no one can find where was the problem of the ship Prestige.
An appeal to Spain's Supreme Court is possible.
Coast of Death
On November 13, 2002 the oil tanker Prestige had problems during a storm off northwest Spain in an area well known as the Coast of Death for being a dangerous location with many shipwrecks. The oil tanker Prestige's problem was a whole in the hull. 70, 000 tons of fuel oil had started pouring in the water.
Spanish officials had responded quickly to the alarm and ordered the ship to move far away from the coast. Prestige was unable to follow the instructions due to her condition and the bad weather and after 4 days of desperate tries 145 nautical miles from the coast, the ship broke in 2 and sank. Oil leak was not terminated. Hundred of miles of the Spanish coastline were colored in black, many species suffered from the sticky oil and died. The ecological impact was huge.
The estimate damage was about $5.7 billion. The Spanish court did not punish the crew to pay something because they were acquitted of the main accusations of causing an environmental crime.