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Thursday, April 19, 2018

DECISION BY A VENEZUELAN CRIMINAL COURT AGAINST THE MASTER OF NISSOS AMORGOS

INTERTANKO has noted with concern the decision handed down by a Venezuelan Criminal Court against Konstantinos Spiropulos, Master of the Greek owned tanker ‘Nissos Amorgos’.

Following the oil pollution incident involving the Nissos Amorgos in the Channel of Lake Maracaibo on 28 February 1997, where two further vessels ran aground over a six-week period, INTERTANKO acted vigorously to ensure that the true facts of this case came into the public domain.  INTERTANKO sent out representatives to Venezuela on more than one occasion to establish the facts and support its member and Captain Spiropulos.

It is not INTERTANKO’s policy or role to interfere in the judicial processes of Sovereign States and in this case INTERTANKO notes that the decision is under appeal on the grounds that, amongst other things, much of the technical evidence was either misapprehended or ignored by the Court.

INTERTANKO continues to be concerned over the criminal prosecution of qualified and experienced seafarers involved in accidents for which blame may lie with others, or in which their role does not reasonably warrant a criminal process.

INTERTANKO intends to raise these issues with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with a view to promoting clear guidelines as to how such matters should be handled in a consistent manner with regard to human rights and fair practice.