Prestige Compensation A "Grim Joke"
LONDON, UK, May 9 2003 - Compensation
payments announced today for the victims of
the Prestige oil spill are "a grim joke",
according to environment pressure group
Friends of the Earth.
The ageing, single-hulled tanker Prestige
sank on November 13th 2002, with a cargo of
77,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, much of
which has now washed onto the coast of Spain,
Portugal and France. The London-based
International Oil Pollution Compensation
Fund, financed largely through levies on the
oil industry, has agreed to pay no more than
£107 million (150 million euros) for clean-up
and compensation. The IOPC fund is believed
to total no more than £122 million (171
million euros). The Spanish Government has
estimated cleanup costs so far at £200
million (280 million euros). To this must be
added the economic losses to the Spanish
fishing industry, the tourist trade etc. The
IOPC itself has estimated total losses at
£716 million (1 billion euros).
Friends of the Earth was the first
organisation to expose the complex web of
ownership behind the Prestige and its cargo (
). The ship was
registered in the Bahamas, but owned by a
branch of the troubled Greek shipping dynasty
the Coulouthros family. The oil was owned by
traders Crown Resources, a subsidiary of the
giant Russian conglomerate Alfa Group.
Neither Alfa nor the ship owners are believed
to have offered any direct compensation for
the Prestige disaster.
Commenting, Friends of the Earth
International Vice-Chair Tony Juniper
"This level of compensation is a grim joke.
The Prestige disaster is one of the worst
oil spills in European history. But both
the shipping and oil industries hide behind
a complex web of offshore companies and
surrogates. This might have been designed
specifically to avoid having to meet the
real costs of their polluting activities.
Hundreds of miles of coastline, much
precious wildlife, and the economic future
of tens of thousands of people have all
been blighted by this disaster. The need
for new international law to make companies
accountable for the environmental cost of
their behaviour has never been greater."
For more information please contact:
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and
media team in London: Tel: 020 7490 1555
Fax: 020 7490 0881 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Friends of the Earth Spain, in Galicia
(SPAIN): Xulio Lopez Tel +34-988 374318 or
+34-649-752351 (mobile) -in SPANISH only-