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The Prestige sage - criminalization of seafarers & little regard for int'l compensation regimes

The recent Spanish top court's ruling in one of the many legal proceedings which followed after the sinking of 'Prestige' in 2002 has once again brought to the fore issues such as criminalization of seafarers, and jeopardizing of system of int'l compensation for spills resulting from unsound judicial decisions.

Lets have a look at some of the decisions in relation to this incident:

- On 20th Dec Spain’s top court held that Spanish state is to be paid $1.9b by the Master and ship’s P&I Club. France and authorities of Galicia are also to be compensated in millions

- In 2016, Master was held criminally liable for damage to environment and sentenced to two years imprisonment. His appeal to constitutional court was denied. In Nov’17, Master was allowed by a US court to access legal documents which show that testimony of some of the witnesses in Spain was in direct conflict with statements that they made in Spain’s suit against ABS in US

- In 2015, London P&I club won an appeal in an English court, allowing them to fence off non-CLC related claims from Spain and France

- In 2012, US appeals court ruled in favour of Class ABS in an action brought by Spain contending that Class societies should be held liable to coastal nations for negligent conduct in connection with class surveys.

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