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Prestige ruling leaves London P&I Club open to claims of up to €4bn

Yesterday Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced Apostolos Mangouras, the captain of the Prestige tanker, which sank off Spain’s northwestern coast in 2002, to two years in prison on Tuesday in a ruling that could have very damaging ramifications for a UK-based insurer.

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

The Prestige sinking saw roughly 63,000 tonnes of bunker fuel wash up along the Galicia coast.

The new ruling could see damage claims against the captain and the insurer, the London P&I Club, with one prosecutor calling for more than EUR4bn.

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.


  1. This ruling is an utter travesty of justice and Captain Mangouras, whose life has already been made hell, is again the innocent victim.
    Had the Spanish authorities not denied the ship a place of refuge the spill would either have been avoided completely or contained with the prospect of only minimal sacrificial damage.
    Let’s hope that all those who stood together in protest over the previous treatment of this man stand up to be counted again.
    Peter M Swift
    Former Managing Director, INTERTANKO

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