Captain of oil tanker that caused Spain's worst environmental disaster cleared of all criminal charges

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The captain of an oil tanker – The Prestige – which caused Spain’s worst environmental disaster 11 years ago has been handed a nine-month prison sentence for refusing a tow when the ship got into trouble.

He was cleared of all other criminal charges including one of harming the environment. The chief engineer and the then head of the Spanish merchant navy have been acquitted.

The Greek operated, Bahamas-flagged tanker was heading from Lithuania to Gibraltar when it had an accident and started taking in water during a storm in November 2002.

It sank six days later dumping 77,000 tonnes of oil into the sea polluting nearly 2,000 kilometres of coastline along the north west of Spain which caused serious damage to wildlife and livelihoods.

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