Prestige Breaking Up

Tuesday, November 19, 2002
SMIT Salvage has confirmed that the Prestige is currently breaking up in international waters. The Salvage team remains on scene but has had no choice but to disconnect from the stricken vessel. The Bahamian-flag tanker PRESTIGE was carrying approximately 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil as cargo. It was under tow approximately 130 miles west of Cape Finisterre. Spanish officials had denied permission to attempt to enter sheltered waters, but it is unclear whether such a salvage attempt would have been successful. Oil has already come ashore in Spain and Portugal. The crew was evacuated safely, but the master has been arrested by Spanish authorities for allegedly causing environmental damage and delaying salvage. If all the oil onboard is discharged, the spill will be twice as large as that of the Exxon Valdez.
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