The London P&I Club
has agreed to provide the $3.2 million bail required for release of Captain Apostolos Mangouras, master of the Prestige, from the high-security Spanish jail in which he has been incarcerated for more than two months.
Although the provision of bail for officers and crew imprisoned following a
casualty is not a routine function of a P&I club, the London Club Committee
believes that the case of the Prestige involves "very special circumstances
indeed". Paul Hinton, Chief Executive of A Bilbrough & Co Ltd, managers of
the London Club, says, "That is why the Club has found a means to assist on
"The decision has been made following careful review of very many complex
considerations. Our committee, which is comprised of shipowners, has been
shocked at the treatment of a man who, by all accounts, put himself at grave
personal risk to do his duty in very difficult circumstances.
"The level of bail is offensive, in the context of the captain's situation.
The court's decision is difficult to understand, given that it has been
handed down in the European Union, where human rights are said to be a
cornerstone of society. An illustration of the offensiveness of the decision
in Spain can be gained from a comparison with the recent case of a wealthy
celebrity in California who, being accused of murder, had his bail set at
less than a third of the bail required from Capt Mangouras. "
Hinton expressed the hope that attention will not be deflected from the
need to identify, objectively, the systemic failures that have occurred on
this occasion. The refusal of a place of refuge is something that must be
avoided in the future.
The Prestige suffered structural damage in heavy weather off Cape Finisterre
last November, and subsequently broke up and sank while under tow, having
been refused entry to a place of refuge in sheltered waters close to the
Spanish coast. It was insured for third-party liability risks with the