New evidence ignites row over Prestige disaster

12th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 December 2005-12-12, MADRID — Fresh evidence sparked claims the former government had lied over the events which led to the Prestige oil tanker disaster over three years ago.

12 December 2005-12-12

MADRID — Fresh evidence sparked claims the former government had lied over the events which led to the Prestige oil tanker disaster over three years ago.

When the tanker sank of the coast of Galicia spilling 60,000 tonnes of oil into the ocean, it severely damaged the ecosystems of the Spanish and French Atlantic coasts.

At the time, the former Popular Party (PP) government claimed it had consulted a team of experts before deciding to move the ailing tanker out to sea and sink it.

But later experts have claimed this meant the oil escaped from the tanker in the high seas and was washed back to the shoreline, making the environmental damage worse than if the ship had been moved inland and the oil slick had been isolated.

Now new taped telephone conversations, obtained by the Spanish daily El Pais, show the order to move the paralysed tanker away from the Spanish coast was taken as soon as it radioed its position.

The tapes involve a conversation between the director of the merchant navy and the head of the national salvaging agency.

The tapes appear to contradict the version of events given at the time by the then government.

Socialist party deputy Lopez Garrido said: "We have learned that the decision to tow the Prestige from the Galician coast was not taken based on technical reports as (the current PP leader) Mariano Rajoy said when the was the deputy prime minister."

The PP said in a statement the then government had strictly followed the law.

The judge involved in the Prestige investigation has subpoenaed all the taped conversations.

The vessel sank in November 2002. 

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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