Round Table Welcomes Release of Prestige Captain

Thursday, February 20, 2003
The Round Table of Maritime Associations has welcomed the release last weekend of Captain Mangouras, Master of the 'Prestige', after 85== days in custody in a high security Spanish prison. The Round Table condemns the detention of Captain Mangouras by the Spanish authorities prior to any formal enquiry or legal proceedings, and applauds him for his fortitude under the extreme conditions which prevailed during the incident and his imprisonment. The Round Table, while welcoming the decision of the vessel's P&I Club, London Steamship, to meet the Euro 3 million bail to obtain the release of Captain Mangouras, remains of the view that the figure demanded was totally unreasonable. The Round Table is concerned that a precedent has been set for a yet more excessive demand in any such future incident. The Round Table also joins other commentators in decrying the criminalising of masters and senior officers after a casualty, believing that this is not only indefensible in human terms, but also inhibits timely and efficient accident investigation. The Round Table believes that early discussions are needed to address the insidious trend towards the designation of the master as the scapegoat after any maritime incident.

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