The Prestige Oil disaster
A dictionary of Spanish history and culture
The Prestige was an oil tanker which sank off the coast of Galicia on 13 November 2002, and eventually spilling some 64,000 tons of fuel oil. The incident was the largest environmental disaster in Spain’s history.
Some key facts
- 64,000 tons of fuel oil were spilled in the incident. This represents more 80% of the tanker’s 77,000 tons of fuel oil
- The cost of the clean-up to the Galician coast alone is estimated at €2.5 billion
- In the subsequent months, thousands of volunteers were organised by the Galician and Spanish Governments to help clean the affected coastline. The environmental damage caused by the Prestige was most severe in the coast of Galicia, where the environmental movement Nunca Máis (Galician for Never Again) was founded, dedicated to ” agit-prop ” against the government.
- The World Wildlife Fund estimated that 300,000 seabirds died. A study published this month (Nov 2007) shows that hydrocarbons are still present in the seabird chicks ( El Mundo )
- Seafood industry was halted along much of Galicia’s coast
- WWF warn of the possibility of other “Prestiges” today and notes three oil spills in Spain this year Sierra Nava (Algeciras), Don Pedro (Ibiza) and Samothraki (Gibraltar) WWF
- As of 13 Nov 2007 El Pais reminds us that nobody has yet been tried for this.
- The disaster brought the Galician word chapapote into comon Spanish parlance. Chapapote denotes the globs of solid fuel washed up on Galicia ‘s beaches as a result of the Prestige oil spill. Any similar glutinous spills from now on
5 minute video, made five years after the disaster
See also “ The largest environmental disaster in Spanish history began during a fierce storm off Galicia’s Coast of Death, la Costa da Morte, on 13th November 2002, as the Prestige oil tanker was sailing from Latvia to Gibraltar, to its ultimate destination of Singapore.” ( Typically Spanish )
More on the Prestige oil spill (wikipedia)