Captain: tanker hit by container

LA CORUNA, Spain (AFP) – A collision with a wayward container holed the Prestige tanker, leading it to sink in 3,800 meters (2.4 miles) of water off Spain this week with 60,000 tons of oil aboard, a Sunday newspaper reported the ship’s captain as saying. Greek captain Apostolos Magouras said a container floating in a busy shipping lane holed his ship’s starboard side, according to La Voz de Galicia newspaper. After «a very loud sound» at the moment of impact, the Prestige began to list badly and took on water, forcing him to fill the port ballast tanks to stabilize the tanker, Magouras said. The captain, who has been in Spanish custody since his vessel sank on Tuesday, denied allegations that he had refused to cooperate with Spanish authorities by directing the tanker toward the coast. He said he «risked his life» to help a towboat take the tanker farther out to sea. Before sinking, the Prestige leaked 10,000 tons of oil, some of which soiled around 400 kilometers (300 miles) of Spain’s northwest coast and forced authorities to impose a fishing ban.

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