Sunday, June 13

Spain wins the first battle in London to collect the bill for the ‘Prestige’ spill


The 'Prestige', after splitting in two off the coast of Fisterra in November 2002.

The ‘Prestige’, after splitting in two off the coast of Fisterra in November 2002.
M.G.

The final litigation for the damages of the Prestige enters its final stretch. More than two years after the Court of A Coruña issued the order for the tanker framework to pay for the damages caused by the oil slick of the old monohull, the British courts have dismissed the appeal filed by the insurance carrier, London P&I Club, against the Supreme Court ruling that required the company to pay compensation of 885 million euros (billion dollars, the amount of the policy subscribed by the shipowner).

This blow to the environment of the ship that in November 2002 broke in two off the coast of Fisterra with 77,000 tons of fuel on board places Spain closer to recovering part of the 2,355 million in losses. The case will continue in the courts of London, since that is where the insurance company of the Prestige have its headquarter.

The insurer filed an appeal against the execution of the sentence, but the judge Christopher Butche, in a sentence handed down yesterday and that advanced Expansion, has denied it. The magistrate concludes that the London P&I Club should have continued the judicial battle in the Spanish courts if, as it assures, their fundamental rights had been violated in the process and a situation of defenselessness had occurred. During the oil slick trial of the Prestige, held in A Coruña and lasted for nine months, the insurer did not appear in order to avoid a judgment against it. Despite being civilly responsible, his presence in the process was not necessary and, finally, he got rid of the sentence.

Judge Butche refuses to go into the merits of the matter on understanding that it was already addressed by the Spanish Justice and declares himself unable to reach a conclusion similar to the one that the insurer intends to assert, which alleged that a petition for annulment before the Supreme Court it was useless because “I would never have changed my mind.”

Despite the damage caused by the sinking of the Prestige exceed 2,000 million, the maximum amount that can be accessed will be one billion dollars, since it is the amount of the policy signed by the owner of the oil tanker.

Almost 19 years after biggest ecological disaster in Spain, the Prestige case It has not yet reached judicial port and continues its journey in the British courts to settle the payment of the damage bill.

After this first legal battle fought by Spain in the courts of London, the process is still open and the Prestige insurer has the possibility of filing a new appeal against the judgment of the British courts. In addition, it keeps two other procedures open to force a international arbitration, since – it alleges – it is what the contract with the oil tanker prescribed.

In one of the lawsuits, according to Expansión, the insurer even claims 1,440 million from Spain for the persecution that he claims to have suffered to claim the costs of the ecological disaster.


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