Captain sued for dumping stowaways at sea
2 July 2004
MADRID — A Spanish refugee group is to sue the captain and crew of a freighter which it claims dumped stowaways overboard at sea, it was reported Friday.
The Spanish Commission of Assistance to Refugees (CEAR) filed a lawsuit against the captain and four crew members of a Panamanian-flagged freighter, who are suspected of throwing four African stowaways overboard while on the high sea, the Spanish daily El Pais reported.
A judge near La Coruna, in north-west Spain, released the South Korean captain and the South Korean and Chinese crew members of the MS Wisteria on the grounds that Spain did not have jurisdiction over an incident involving foreign citizens outside Spanish territory.
The Wisteria is believed to have abandoned the stowaways on a tiny life raft in Moroccan or Mauritanian waters on April 23 while transporting a cargo of tuna fish from Senegal to Spain, where some crew members reported the incident to port authorities.
But CEAR argued that Spain could try the suspects on the basis of the Law of the Sea, signed in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1982.
The captain and his crew have left Spain.
The stowaways are believed to have drowned, though their bodies have not been found.
Subject: Spanish news