The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) disagrees vehemently with the recent court ruling over the 2002 Prestige oil spill that sentenced Captain Mangouras to two years of prison.
“This decision represents the dying gasps of a 14 year old attempt to deflect blame onto the shoulders of an octogenarian man, who has been cleared in the court of world opinion and by his peers,” ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel said responding to the Spanish Supreme Court’s decision.
“Thankfully it is likely to be as unenforceable as it is illogical. This innocent man cannot again be made to sit needlessly in jail.”
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.
“The Mangouras case was one of the worst examples of the kneejerk criminalisation of seafarers. The ITF, like many other organisations and individuals, was able to support him during that ordeal. This latest piece of victimisation reminds us that we must all remain vigilant to protect seafarers from these injustices,” he concluded.
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.
It was estimated that a total of 63,000 tons of fuel were discharged into the sea from the tanker when it sank in November 2002, while the total damage cost was estimated at USD 4.4 billion.