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the Prestige debacle (March 2003)

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the politics of irresponsibility—
the Prestige, April 2004

eu parliament officially condemns spain over the prestige

Dutch MEP Dirk Sterckx pulled no punches regarding Spain’s responsibility for the Prestige catastrophe and their shameful treatment of Captain Scapegoat Mangouras, master of the Prestige.

“... towing the Prestige out to sea was clearly a disastrous mistake.”

“Sterckx also highlights [sic.] the treatment of the [sic.] Apostolos Mangouras, the Greek captain of the Prestige, who has been detained indefinitely in Spain until his trial.

“ "If you are looking for high quality seafarers, it is hardly a good advertisement to treat them in this manner."

“ "The captain should be allowed to return home pending his trial and should be given a clear date for a court hearing." ”

the spilt oil

“Sterckx also calls on the Spanish to tackle the remaining oil still left in the sea and the thousands of tonnes of waste in landfill sites.

“The Prestige was carrying 77,000 tonnes of oil, and though most of it has been cleaned up, 20,000 tonnes remain unaccounted for.

“MEPs want the [Spanish] authorities to put forward a detailed calendar for the extraction and clean up of the waste and want the expertise gained in the process to be available for tackling any future accidents.”

oil still in the wreck

Spain claims that they will start extracting the remaining 13.700 tonnes of oil [1] in the wreck of the Prestige from the beginning of May. Most of the oil in the the bow will be extracted by the gravity method already trialed, but about 1,300 tonnes will have to be removed by biological methods, as will the 700 tonnes still in the stern.

The extraction budget is 99 million euros [$177 million], two thirds being for development costs and one third for actual extraction costs.

This on top of the 1.7 million euros cost of cleaning the filthy, poisonous residual tar oil from French beaches, and the 1,000 million euros claimed by the Spanish for cleaning their coastline and beaches.

99 mil.+ 1.7 mil. + 1,000 mil. = 1,100.7 million euros (or over 1 billion €) down the drain, all because Spanish politicians and marine bureaucrats, thinking they knew better, went for an enormous irresponsible, quick fix.

1.Report in Spanish from the Spanish Merchant Marine Association.



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