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Friday, December 15, 2017

Prestige developments – Mangouras home … Spanish scientists criticise government’s crisis handling … new video footage casts new light on sinking

The good news that Spanish judge Javier Collazo has given Apostolos Mangouras, former master of the Prestige imprisoned in Spain without trial for getting on for two years, permission to return to Greece indefinitely has been welcomed by the tanker community – even if it comes with a proviso that he will be required to return to Spain to face trial (for which a date has still not been set) and that he will be required to report once a fortnight to the Greek police. 

It is no coincidence that this judgement was made just two weeks after Mangouras returned to Barcelona, as he promised he would, after spending three months at home. 

But this was not the only ‘Prestige’ news this week. Two Spanish scientists spoke out at a parliamentary commission enquiry in Galicia, the region most badly hit by pollution from the Prestige’s crude oil cargo, claiming that the decision to send the Prestige further out to sea, despite the bad weather, had actually raised the risk of environmental damage. Fiz Fernandez and Federico Vilas believe that the former Spanish government dismissed scientific truths concerning the state of the vessel when they took the decision to order the ship further out to sea. Both men are members of the committee which assessed the government’s handling of the Prestige crisis.

In addition, Spain has apparently released twelve hours of video footage previously unseen by the investigators, which allegedly brings new evidence to light. Spain has criticised the Bahamas enquiry for inaccuracies and incorrect information, but yet it gave the Bahamas only edited highlights for its investigation, and now it is claiming that this new footage casts a fresh light on the sinking. Why was this video evidence not released in full to the Bahamas when it started its enquiry? 

Contact: Bill Box