photos from the Prestige Oil Spill
Prestige spill marea negra
>comments, commentario??

these are some of the facts that we know,
the small number of facts reflect the lack of of information out
there that we trust. the best information is what we see everyday on the beaches:

Commentary: February 18, 2003

Website updated with new fotos as a new black tide from the 3 month old sinking of the "Prestige" oil tanker hits Spanish beaches over the last 2 weeks. Go to "home/fotos" to access the photo galleries. Thank you for all the response, interest, please send any comments, news, photos (from France, Portugal especially).

Unfortunately the media and public's attention is focused on the possible war with Irak and the Prestige oil spill is now, at best, second page news. This is a mistake because the oil spill is continuing to hit beaches and more than half of oil is still in the sunken Prestige at a depth of 4,000 meters waiting to re-devastate coastlines and wildlife in Spain and France and possibly other parts of Europe..

It is a mistake because the oil spill (which has been officially classified as the worst environmental disasters ever in Europe) and Irak are not to be considered as separate issues. the pending war in Irak, the daily threat of interntational politico-religious terrorism, the Prestige, and the cars we drive and plastics we use everyday are all part of the big issue here: PETROLEUM.

We might say that thousands of gallons of toxic, carcenogenic oil htting our beaches was the start of the war, if so then the 60,000 or so marine birds that have died are the first casualties. Who else is going to die for the black gold? Maybe we should ask Jose Maria Aznar and George W. Bush?


News: February 18, 2003

>Hundreds of oil stricken birds from another oil spill of the coasts of Belgium. here is a link about it:

>There is a gigantic oil slick which has entered into the Bay of Biscay and is hitting thousands of kilometers of beaches in southwestern France and Northern Spain. The amount of oil is more than the intial black tide in December. The Spanish government is under reporting the amount and under emphasizing the danger of the oil floating in the Bay of Biscay. In Santander people can be seen everyday surfing, strolling, walking their dogs on oil stricken beaches. Meanwhile in France beaches are closed to the public.

>Fishing has resumed in Galicia despite the fact that eye witness reports have claimed new oil arriving at the beaches where fishing has been allowed.

>In the gallery of photos from February 1, 2003 you can see how the oil is directly affecting the shell fish (mussels, mejillones) here in Santander, Cantabria. Prudence is recommended when ordering any seafood from Spain in a restaurant.

>There are reports of surfers in Bilbao being hospitalized after surfing with a series of different toxicity related illnesses. We all are completely oblivious to the dangers that exist in the water, there has been no official reports from the Governement of Cantabria stating

>A reporter for this website has on video tape an interview of an official of the Department of the Enivornment Cantabria admitting that said department has no idea what toxicity levels the beaches and ocean have.

>The second black tide (marea negra) hit Santander and the north coast of Spain on the same day that representatives of the Spanish Tourism Industry and Government was holding a convention in Madrid stating how the beaches would be clean for the start of the tourist season in May.

>Who owned the Prestige?
Prestige was owned by a Liberian company that had registered it in the Bahamas, and was operated by a Greek crew. The ship had been chartered by small Swiss-based Russian oil trader Crown Resources.

>Who will pay for the clean up?
Under the rules of the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Civil Liberty Convention of 1975, the ship owner is strictly liable for the clean-up costs following a spill, up to a maximum of $80m. After that, the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF), which is financed by the countries that take delivery of oil, starts paying too, up to a total of $180m. The IOPC has allotted $154.3 million in damages for the Prestige spill. Crown Resources was also required to carry $25.5 million in insurance.

>Great news for oil companies and associated businesses: 1 million new cars were sold in China in 2002 for the first time in China's history.

>Bad News for luxury car owners in Great Britain 2 days ago: A ship carrying a cargo of new BMWs and Saabs sunk just off the southern coast of England. Bummer ol' chaps.

>Algunas frases brillantes:

José María Aznar, presidente del Gobierno:

"Si alguien habla de descoordinación, que lo demuestre, y, si alguien es capaz de demostrar que es mejor que un petrolero que se está partiendo entre en un puerto antes que ser sacado, que también diga que estaría dispuesto a asumir esa responsabilidad. Nosotros no lo vamos a hacer y vamos a contribuir a que el daño a las familias y el daño al medio ambiente sea el menor posible. Lo que no vamos a hacer es ir a Galicia a hacernos fotografías, a no resolver nada y a mercadear" (27/11/02)

"Creo que hay alarmismos muy poco justificados" (28/11/02)

Manuel Fraga, presidente de la Xunta de Galicia:

"Ya ha pasado el peligro más grave" (15/11/02)

"Si hace falta, me vuelvo a bañar como en Palomares" (21/11/02)

"Parece ser que se trata de una variante de fuel que tiene algunas complicaciones" (28/11/02)

Mariano Rajoy, vicepresidente del Gobierno:

"Afecta a una parte importante de La Coruña, pero no es una marea negra" (23/11/02)

"Se piensa que el fuel esta aún enfriándose; salen unos pequeños hilitos, los que se han visto; hay en concreto cuatro regueros que se han solidificado, con aspecto de plastilina en estiramiento vertical. Debe salir de alguna de las grietas. Están los técnicos estudiando qué significa eso" (5/12/02)

Francisco Álvarez Cascos, ministro de Fomento:

"A toro pasado todos acertamos por qué lado se tira el penalti" (26/11/02)

Miguel Arias-Cañete, ministro de Agricultura y Pesca:

"Afortunadamente, la rápida intervención de las autoridades españolas alejando el barco de las costas, hace que no temamos una catástrofe ecológica, como ha sucedido en otras ocasiones, ni prevemos grandes problemas en las aguas españolas ni para los recursos pesqueros" (16/11/02)

"El vertido afecta a una extensión muy importante, pero no es una marea negra" (26/11/02)

Arsenio Fernández de Mesa, delegado del Gobierno en Galicia:

"Probablemente el fuel no toque la costa gallega" (14/11/02) "El petrolero pudo perder entre 3.000 y 4.000 toneladas de fuel" (19/11/02)

Enrique López Veiga, consejero de Pesca gallego:

"Con el Prestige a 60 millas el riesgo no es alto" (15/11/02)

"Todo el fuel que tenía que llegar a la costa ya ha llegado" (17/11/02)

>the clean up effort continues and is sporadic at best with volunteers using whatever protective gear they can afford or acquire doing most of the work. there has been no support form the local governments other than the placement of some containers at some beaches in which to deposit what we manually collect in buckets. there has been no accurate information regarding the health risks we are being exposed to.

>this is a direct quote from a middle aged woman in Santander on 12-07-02 discussing the oil spill but more concerned about the minor news that 200 Africans had been detained for illegally entering Spain near Gibralter: "Now that is a problem. What are we going to do with so many black people" (ignorance = apathy)

>the oil is still leaking from the Prestige wreckage which is at the bottom of the ocean 3000 meters (6000 ft) deep.

>the oil still in the wreckage of the Prestige is at least half of what has already hit Spain's beaches. Approximately 30,000 liter tons could still reach us.

>the Prestige is a small oil tanker as oil tankers go. It holds around 70,000 liter tons of crude oil. there are tankers that circulate worldwide which have capacities of 240,000 liter tons. So it is conceivable that this disaster could be coming to a beach near you but with 4 times more oil.

> the oil slicks reaching the beaches in around Santander appear to have subsided but we don't know what might happen
tomorrow or the next day

> the oil on the sand is easy to clean up. there is evidence of the oil "pancakes" being buried as the waves deposit more sand on the beaches which means that although the sand on a beach appears clean there could be oil below the surface anywhere

>the oil on the rocks and in the crevices and caves is extremely hard to remove and as the days go by the oil hardens and becomes impossible to remove, possibly to stain the rocks for ever. in some areas there is accumulation in between the rocks which can reach 3 or 4 feet in depth. the oil that reached inaccessible and previously "virgin" parts of our coastline will never be removed.

>some people have been seen surfing in the area. they are completely uniformed as to the levels of toxicity that exist in the water as are all the volunteer clean up crews and people who frequent the beaches. We do know that the oil is toxic and carcenogenic but we don't know at what level.

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