Gloves are off over Prestige

Athens yesterday accused Spain of making a scapegoat of the Greek captain of the oil tanker Prestige after it sank in November, spewing toxic fuel along the Spanish and French coasts. Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis said Spain had only itself to blame for the spill and was acting like a «Third World state» in its treatment of arrested Captain Apostolos Mangouras, 67. «The ship sank five days after the captain was forcefully removed from the sinking tanker,» Anomeritis told Reuters in an interview. «He didn’t want to leave the vessel but he was transferred away.» The Prestige, carrying over 75,000 tons of fuel oil, snapped in two on November 19 after battling rough seas for six days. Anomeritis said if Spain had granted Mangouras’s request to be allowed into a safe port, his ship would not have sunk. «He had asked for a port of refuge but Spain did not allow him to dock. Instead, he was fighting the waves for six days,» the minister said. «We consider his treatment by Spanish authorities as abysmal and Third World-like.» (Reuters)

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