The "Prestige" will probably remain as one of the most famous sinkings in recent years, and undoubtably one of the most photographed. She finally sank beneath the waves on November 19th 2002, after the Spanish government had refused to allow her to be towed into a port for repair. It is argued that, had they done so, the pollution that will now afflict the Galician coastline for many years, may have been avoided.
To learn more about tankers, their different sizes and how they operate, click on Steve's image above
Under the terms of the International CLC (Civil Liability Convention), the owners of this 26 year old, single skinned tanker, with 77,000 metric tons of fuel oil on board, are allowed to limit their liability arising from this sinking to about US$ 25,000,000.
Under a further convention, the Fund Convention, this amount is then topped up to around US$ 180,000,000 by oil receiving States. Above that figure, it will be down to local governments to compensate those affected by the oil spill.
After having paid (or rather, after the P& I club have paid) the US$25m, no one can sue the shipowner for another penny. The Spanish government will have plenty of time to regret the actions they took leading up to 19th November 2002.
The final moments of the PRESTIGE, but this was never going to be the last we would hear of this loss......
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