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Asian Shipowners Forum belatedly joins chorus against Mangouras verdict

Asian Shipowners Forum belatedly joins chorus against Mangouras verdict
The Asian Shipowners Forum (ASF) has belatedly added its voice to the chorus of outrage from the against Spain’s sentencing of the Master of the Prestige to two years in jail.

In late January a Spanish court sentenced Apostolos Mangouras, captain of the Prestige to two-yearsfor  recklessness resulting in catastrophic environmental damage, according to a statement by the court, overturning a previous sentence which cleared him of criminal responsibility, some 14 years after the accident happened.

The verdict was met with outrage from shipping bodies, and Intertanko, Intermanger and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) were among those who slammed the verdict.

Belated the ASF has added its voice to the chorus following a meeting of its ship insurance and liability committee this week.

“It is a pity,” said Robert Ho the chairman of the committee, “that the Spanish Supreme Court has decided to depart from normal and accepted legal process by overturning findings of fact made by a lower court, and substituting findings that cannot, in any event, be seen as credible and plausible.

“This is a worrying sign that some States, even in apparently well developed countries and by utlising the highest legal level, would appear willing to manipulate the legal process to meet their short term and political needs.”

The committee found it was “wrong and deeply troubling” that seafarers were singled out for blame following an incident.