‘Abhorent’: InterManager slams Prestige master’s jail sentence ruling

‘Abhorent’: InterManager slams Prestige master’s jail sentence ruling

InterManager has joined growing calls to reverse a court decision that jailed a tanker captain this week. The shipmanagement organisation described as “abhorrent”, the decision by Spain’s Supreme Court to sentence the master of the Prestige tanker, which sank off Spain’s northwest coast in 2002, to two years in prison and has called on the shipping industry to support him after what have been 14 highly stressful years.

InterManager described the court decision as a “totally unfair”.

Captain Mangouras was convicted of recklessness resulting in catastrophic environmental damage, according to a statement by the court, overturning a previous sentence by a Galician Regional Court which cleared him of criminal responsibility.

Gerardo Borromeo, president of InterManager, said he was hugely disappointed by the court ruling and said it set a very worrying precedent as far as the role and responsibility for masters in certain jurisdictions.

The Prestige case was unique as the vessel had been refused permission to dock by Spanish, Portuguese and French authorities after a storm had damaged one of its fuel tanks. It eventually split in two and sank some 250 miles off the coast.

Earlier this week, ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel commented on the court ruling: “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.”

Peter Swift, the former managing director of Intertanko, told Splash: “This ruling is an utter travesty of justice and Captain Mangouras, whose life has already been made hell, is again the innocent victim… Let’s hope that all those who stood together in protest over the previous treatment of this man stand up to be counted again.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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