The captain, the British insurer and the owner of the Prestige tanker that sank in 2002 off Galicia, Spain, have been found guilty for one of Europe’s worst environmental disasters, according to the Spanish Supreme Court.
The court sentenced the tanker’s captain Apostolos Ioannis Mangouras to two years in prison, cancelling the previously reached ruling by which he had no criminal responsibility. As indicated the captain was found guilty of recklessness that caused the accident of catastrophic environmental consequences.
Based on the court decision, Mare Shipping, the owner of the 81,000-dwt tanker, the mutual insurance company The London P&I Club, and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) were also found liable for the disaster, however, the court said that their sentences will be established at a later date.
As a result, the insurance company may be facing a claim worth EUR 4 billion (USD 4.3 bn).
The 1976-built tanker sank on November 13, 2002, as it suffered a fracture in its starboard side due to rough seas while it was sailing some 27.5 miles west of Finisterre, Spain. Six days later, the tanker broke in two and sank off the coast of Galicia.
It was estimated that a total of 63,000 tons of fuel were discharged into the sea, while the total damage cost was estimated at USD 4.4 billion.
Related news: Flashback history: Tanker Prestige sinking (Video)