Mangouras free, stuck in Spain

Curtis, Spain (Reuters) – The Greek captain of a tanker that sank off Spain in November and caused the country’s worst ever environmental disaster was freed from jail yesterday after the ship’s insurer paid his 3-million-euro bail. Apostolos Mangouras, 68, had been held behind bars for nearly three months pending trial on charges of causing pollution and disobeying orders from maritime authorities. No one knows for sure what caused the problems on November 13, when the Prestige began taking in water and leaking part of its cargo of 77,000 tons of fuel oil. Mangouras faces up to nine years in prison if convicted. The London Protection and Indemnity Club paid the bail voluntarily, saying the captain was a hero who risked his life to save the ship. Mangouras declined to speak to reporters upon leaving the Teixeiro high-security prison in Galicia. Spanish press reports said the conditions of Mangouras’s bail meant he must remain in Spain and report to police daily. A dozen friends and fellow sailors greeted him upon his release with welcome banners in Greek.