Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 19, 2012

The Prestige sinks

November 19, 2002: The Prestige sinks. The ship was registered in the Bahamas but under Liberian ownership. The 797 foot long, single-hulled craft was built by Hitachi Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. and completed in 1976. The ship was hauling 77,000 metric tons of cargo. There were two different grades of heavy fuel oil aboard. One of the twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia, Spain. The Greek operated ship was in peril and the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers. Rather than help, the captain was told he had to steer his ship away from the coast and head in a northwest direction.

Galicia is in the northwestern corner of Spain, north of Portugal. Sending the ship northwest, meant the ship would enter the Bay of Biscay and head toward France. The French government then forced the ship to head southward and into Portuguese waters. Portugal no more wanted the oil tanker in its waters than either Spain or France. Portugal sent navy vessels out to intercept the ship and not allow it into Portuguese waters. None of the three countries would permit the ailing ship to dock at their ports. The longer the ship was in distress, the greater that distress became. The storm waged on and finally a 40-foot section of the hull broke off and released a “substantial” amount of fuel into the waters.

At around 8 AM, the ship finally split in half. It sank during the afternoon hours and released millions of gallons of oil into the ea. It was reported that Prestige was 150 miles off the coast of Spain when it sunk. An earlier oil slick had already reached the coast. Greek Captain, Apostolos Mangouras, was arrested and charged with not cooperating with salvage crews and harming the environment. After the ship sunk, it continued to leak oil at the rate of about 125 tons per day, damaging the coastal region of Galicia.

Thousands were organized to help with the cleanup effort. Neither the local Galicia government nor the Spanish government helped with efforts. Even so, people were able to make a concerted effort and not only cleaned the oil spill damage, but were able to help with accumulated damage to the beaches along the coastal region. The year after the spill, there were more blue flags (a designation from the European Union for beaches meeting the highest standards) than there were the year before. Original estimates of leaked oil was 17,000 tons and it was hoped that the remained 60,000 would freeze and not leak. Rescue efforts in 2004 removed the remaining oil from the wreck and it was found that 20 million US gallons had eventually leaked from the ship.

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. – Thomas Fuller

The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future. – Marya Mannes

Till now man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature. – Dennis Gabor

We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap. – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Also on this day:

Synonymous with Failure – In 1959, the Ford Edsel line was discontinued.
Seven – In 1997, the McCaughey septuplets were born.
87 Years Later – In 1863, Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.

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2 Responses

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  1. combs2jc said, on November 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Reblogged this on joeccombs2nd.

  2. Bobby Dias said, on November 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    This is a very good example of the local people helping themselves rather than waiting for outside help- the EU flags came after everything was done. Countries in the EU need more cooperation contracts with each other for assistence not for the EU to put up formal flags like a school kid getting a star on his homework.
    The recent Gulf disaster showed that the locals cleaned up their own mess without waiting for helping.- getting paid for their labor by BP was very well earned, not a hand-out.
    The big flood in New Orleans by that one storm brought out much volunteer help-FEMA was nowhere to be found because they were only authorized to loan out money and goods with interest which does not save lives. Old ways of helping like the Coast Guard helped greatly- them disobeying orders to wait for FEMA before doing anything.

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