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ECHR throws out Prestige related case against Spain

The European Court of Human Rights has thrown out a case brought by the captain of the Prestige against the Spanish government:

SHIPPING industry officials have been left “shocked and disappointed” after a case against Spain by Prestige master Apostolos Mangouras was thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights.

In a unanimous decision, the Strasbourg court ruled that the €3m bail imposed on Capt Mangouras was not excessive given the seriousness of the 2002 oil spill. The time the Greek master spent in a Spanish jail — 83 days — was also short compared to comparable cases, the seven judges said in their ruling.

Representatives for the London Steamship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association, the Prestige’s insurers, are already understood to be considering launching an appeal against the ruling.

“This finding seems inexplicable,” ITF Seafarers’ section secretary Jon Whitlow told Lloyd’s List.

“The arrest of Capt Mangouras was a knee-jerk reaction by a flailing government. His continued detention was a politically-motivated attempt to shift blame in the face of a national disaster. Sounds familiar? The same kinds of forces are at play in the case of the Hebei Two, and it’s our hope that by fighting against this most recent scandal in Korea we and the rest of the industry can expose and end the injustice in the same way that we were all finally able to do in the case of Capt Laptalo.”

abelard argues that the Spanish authorities are to blame on the grounds that they ordered the damaged ship to sail away from the Spanish coast, into a storm, against the advice of the Captain. The result:

“The Prestige broke in two and sank, spilling tens of thousands of tonnes of residual heavy crude oil. She sank, but not in shallow waters, easy to access to salvage the remainder of the oil, quickly before further ecological damage was done.”

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