Oil tanker sinks off Spain

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John Meeks

Guest
I see from tonight's news that yet another tanker has sunk off Spain !

Is this a conspiracy or something ? I have no details other than she was loaded with diesel fuel, and the skipper is a casualty.

Regards,

John M
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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The 68 year old Captain of the tanker Prestige has been released on a 3 million dollar bond, after spending 3 months in a Spanish Jail. He was arrested for Enviromental Crimes and disobeying Spanish Maritime Officals. The ship continues to leak oil through cracks in the hull. The full story can be found at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/02/07/prestige.captain/index.html

MY OPINION: Here is a Captain who just lost his ship due to bad weather and under no fault of his own. Yet he was detained for a enviromental crime to which he is not responsible, the company he works for is. What I can't figure out, is why he was detained in a jail. I see the possible flight risk, but you would think the Spanish government would have been seeking the company resposnible for the upkeep of the ship.

This is one of those catch22 situations that all captains face. Darned if you do, and darned if you don't.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Captain Wood, throughout much of Europe, it is common for persons suspected of offences, or even mere witnesses, to be detained for long periods. It's part of their inquisitorial system of justice. Some observers fear that sometimes the procedure has more to do with the ego trips of judges than the merits of the case. This has often appeared to be the case in Italy.

As an old racing cyclist, I'm familiar with a number of examples involving athletes suspected of drug use. Last year, Edita Rumsas, the wife of a Tour de France rider, was detained in France for months after being found in possession of suspicious substances. Different ships, different long splices!
 
J

John Meeks

Guest
Cap'n Wood,

Dave's quite correct - and not only in Europe.

I think it is generally recognized throughout the world that 'if you represent the company.....you are the company...'!

Working in a technical capacity, I've always found this to be true - and have been reminded of it on several occasions.

Regards,

John M
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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In Europe, it's due to the Napoleonic Code, which governs much of their law. When the police start gathering witnesses and suspects, the investigation is conducted under the oversight of a judge or magistrate. Lawyers for the parties involved are in it also. The method has its points and I've seen aspects of it advocated for Australia. Its supporters say that it is more likely to find the truth and less interested in legal pointscoring in court. However, it does seem at times to be very hard on witnesses and minor players in the offence.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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I am concerned that the bond was posted by an insurer to the venture; the interests of the master and other parties are not necessarily mutual.

All shipmasters should invest in independent cover for such contingencies as have beset the master of the Prestige.

As for the considerable premium this would demand, it should be written into the master's contract of employment that the shipowner/charterer covers this without reserve.

Noel
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Noel -- sound advice, but there are far more licensed shipmasters than their are beds for them to sleep in. I fear that anyone making such a request of many companies would be shown the exit.

Anyone who has been in the military knows that the real purpose of junior officers is to take the blame when a superior ***** up. That's also the role of captain in the operation of many shipping companies. (I am thinking of one man in particular who happens to be a close friend.)

-- David G. Brown
 

Steve Smith

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Mar 20, 2011
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I didn't realise the Captain was 68. Is there any mandatory retirement age for ship's captains or officers?
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Dave G:

Thanks for the information. I didn't know that this was actual practice. I seems to odd to me only because what little contact I have had with European Shipping Authorities has always been pleasant. The U.S. has a simliar thing, instead of detaining one or two, we detain the entire ship until a investigation is over. To me, jail just seemed to be odd for a man who had requested assistance and was denied it, the end result being what has occured. So detention is just apart of the system there??? You are detained until cleared of the charges???
 
Dec 2, 2000
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And herewe are, three years later with the results of some of the on going legal wrangling finally coming in:
quote:

ABS WINS 2 PRESTIGE COURT RULINGS
Thursday, 10 August 2006

US-based classification society American Bureau of Shipping has won two points in its long running series of legal battles relating to the 2002 loss of the tanker prestige and subsequent pollution of the Spanish coast.

In the first ruling US District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain has dismissed the claims of the Basque communities against ABS relating to the loss of the oil tanker Prestige and has ruled the case closed.

The ruling follows the payment of Euros 45.6m to the Basques by the Spanish Government under a compensation agreement. The Basques had sought to recover $50m from ABS for direct damages incurred by the various Basque communities from the incident. The Basques had petitioned the US Court to dismiss their action “without prejudice”￾.

Judge Swain ruled in favour of ABS that the motion be dismissed “with prejudice”￾ meaning that the Basque communities should not be able to pursue future suit against ABS in the matter of the Prestige.
For the rest of the story, go to http://www.mgn.com/news/dailystorydetails.cfm?storyid=6853&type=2

Comment: This is but one action taken by a court in the United States where Spain sought litigation, and an object lesson in just how long court actions can drag on long after the main event. (And it ain't over yet either!)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Seems a bit unfair to try such a case in a US court doesn't it?<<

Perhaps but as the article indicated, Spain chose to bring the action to a U.S. court so that doesn't give them a lot of room to grouse about the outcome.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Hellenic Shipping News:

Prestige Oil Disaster - Five Years On
quote:

The largest environmental disaster in Spanish history began during a fierce storm off Galicia's Coast of Death, la Costa da Morte, on 13th November 2002, as the Prestige oil tanker was sailing from Latvia to Gibraltar, to its ultimate destination of Singapore. This 26 year old single-hulled vessel, longer than two football fields, was registered in the Bahamas, was owned by a Liberian company, was managed by another company based in Greece, and was insured in London. It was carrying 77,000 tons of fuel oil for a Swiss subsidiary - originally formed in Gibraltar - of a Russian consortium.
For the rest, go to http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=nwsinternational&article=4747

Comment: If the litigation from this fiasco drags on the way it still is with the Exxon Valdez, you can bet we haven't heard the last of this.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Hellenic Shipping News:

Spain to pursue claims against US shipping bureau over oil spill
quote:

Spain will appeal a US federal court decision dismissing its damage claims against a US ship inspection organization, which Madrid accuses of contributing to one of the world's worst recent oil disasters, Spanish media reported Friday.
Full story at http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=nwsinternational&article=6936

Comment: Gee, what a surprise!
wink.gif
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The American Shipper:

French Court rejects Prestige claims against ABS
quote:

The Rochefort High Court in France has dismissed an attempt by two unions of French oyster producers to recover up to 10 million euro in damages from parties involved in the loss of the tanker Prestige in 2002, including the American Bureau of Shipping and the government of Spain.
More at http://www.americanshipper.com/SNW_story.asp?news=94215
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,582
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Easley South Carolina
Dec 2, 2000
58,582
372
283
Easley South Carolina
Dec 2, 2000
58,582
372
283
Easley South Carolina