The shipwreck of the oil tanker “Prestige” raises new questions about maritime safety and environmental liability.
The sinking of the Prestige tanker will raise questions on thespeed of implementation and effectiveness of the EU and international regulationsthat followed in the wake of the Erika disaster. Although the Erika I and II packages were adopted by the EU, the Member States have to start enforcing these regulations only from July 2003. The target date of 2015 for the finalabolishing of all single-hull tankerswill certainly come under fire, as well the lack of control on ships flying under so-called flags of convenience.
The accident also will raise again the issue ofenvironmental liability, as it is unclear who will bear the costs for the clean-up of the spilled oil. The Prestige was owned by a Liberian company but registered under a Bahamian flag. It was managed by a Greek company and carried oil for a Swiss company whose owners are Russian.