Captain of the "Prestige" Still Under Arrest in Spain

The ill-fated petroleum tanker, "Prestige," sank off Spain's Galicia Coast on November 20, 2002, spilling 77 tons of its fuel oil. Since, that time, Captain Apostolos Mangouras has not been able to leave the country.

The London insurance company that issued the marine coverage for the "Prestige," London Protection and Indemnity Club, posted a $3.24 million bond for the Captain in February of 2003, yet, he still remains a prisoner of the Spanish government.

The Presitge was caught in heavy seas off the Spanish coast in December, 2002, and began leaking some of its 77,000-ton cargo of heavy fuel oil. Neither Spanish nor Portuguese authorities would allow the stricken ship to dock at any port, and it was towed further out to sea, where it eventually broke apart and sank. Capt. Mangouras remained on board until there was no hope of saving the vessel.

Since it went down approximately 100 miles off the northwestern coast of Spain, the ship's heavy fuel oil has continued to escape, causing ongoing pollution along the Spanish and French coast. The spill has resulted in severe economic losses for the region's fishing and tourist industries, currently estimated at over $1.08 billion, in addition to the costs of cleaning up the oil.