Trial over Spain Prestige oil disaster ends

July 10, 2013
Workers clean up oil-coated rocksoin the coast in Muxia village, northwestern Spain, May 19, 2003. Hearings in the trial over one of Europe's worst oil spills wrapped up in Spain on Wednesday after eight months of testimony.

Hearings in the trial over one of Europe's worst oil spills wrapped up in Spain on Wednesday after eight months of testimony.

The Prestige tanker spilled 50,000 tonnes of oil into the sea when it capsized in the Atlantic in 2002, choking the of Spain, Portugal and France with thick black oil.

Plaintiffs have called for sentences of up 12 years' jail for the Greek captain, Apostolos Mangouras, 78, his Greek chief engineer Nikolaos Argyropoulos and the head of the Spanish merchant navy at the time, Jose Luis Lopez Sors.

After hearing from scores of experts and witnesses, the court in the northwestern city of La Coruna adjourned the trial until the verdict, which officials said was not due for at least two months.

The prosecution has also demanded more than four billion euros ($5.0 billion) in damages overall.

Mangouras blamed the spill on the Spanish authorities which ordered the ship out to sea after it sent out a distress call due to a crack in its hull.

The Bahama-flagged Liberian tanker was carrying 77,000 tonnes of fuel when it sent the call on November 13, 2002.

Mangouras, along with lawyers representing the shipping company that ran the Prestige, said the order caused it to break up in a storm and spill its load over six days adrift.

"The ship was cracked and they sent it out to the ocean," Mangouras told the court in November. "It was the worst alternative. They sent us in a floating coffin... to drown."

Lopez Sors said he had ordered the ship away from shore to lessen the from the spill.

The decision did not spare 1,700 kilometres (1,050 miles) of coastline, which were blanketed with black slime, prompting 300,000 volunteers to come out to clean the beaches.

Explore further: Spanish oil spill workers suffered chromosome damage: study

Related Stories

Oil spill as container ship hits N. Zealand reef

October 5, 2011

A large container ship ran aground on a reef off New Zealand's North Island Wednesday, releasing a "light sheen of oil" but not posing a major environmental hazard, the country's maritime authority said.

New break up fears for stricken N. Z. ship

November 2, 2011

Officers from a ship stuck on a New Zealand reef faced fresh charges Wednesday as fears were raised the vessel was close to breaking up and could spill more oil, worsening the environmental disaster.

Recommended for you

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

Revealing the rules behind virus scaffold construction

March 19, 2019

A team of researchers including Northwestern Engineering faculty has expanded the understanding of how virus shells self-assemble, an important step toward developing techniques that use viruses as vehicles to deliver targeted ...

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

Levitating objects with light

March 19, 2019

Researchers at Caltech have designed a way to levitate and propel objects using only light, by creating specific nanoscale patterning on the objects' surfaces.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.