Rainbow Warrior leads protest flotilla in Spain

Feature story - 8 December, 2002
More than 150 local fishing boats and yachts joined Greenpeace's flagship the Rainbow Warrior In a protest flotilla off the Galacian port town of Coruña. Another 2000 people lined the harbour. What do we all want? An guarantee that catastrophes such as the Prestige oil tanker disaster will never happen again.

The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior sails in the Galician port town of La Coruna this morning in protest against the weak response to the oil disaster from authorities, and demanding that stricter measures are put in place.

We joined representatives of the Spanish fishing industry in Spain asking the European Union to adopt real and effective measures are put in place following the weak response to the disaster by authorities. The Rainbow Warrior and its crew will spend the coming days in the affected area, documenting the ongoing impact of the disaster on Spain's oil-soaked shores.

Greenpeace Spain's Executive Director is horrified by what he has seen over the last few weeks and says the EU must get serious about ensuring that disasters like the Prestige can never happen again. "The EU Transport Ministers Council meeting was very disappointing and failed to adopt strong enough measures to protect our seas. When the presidents of the EU meet in Copenhagen next week they must implement a much stricter system immediately."

We want full and unlimited liability throughout the chain of responsibilities, including the owners, managers and operators of a vessel and of any charterers or owners of the cargo. The must ensure that industry pays for the damage caused by accidents.

The decision by EU Transport Ministers to ban single-hulled vessels carrying heavy oil should be extended to cover all hazardous materials, and to exclude single hulled ships from ecologically sensitive areas.

"The maximum compensation in the case of the Prestige will amount to only 172 million Euros," said Juan. "It is completely unacceptable that those responsible for the damage can wash their hands of the whole issue and that the taxpayers have to pay for most of the damages."

Speaking at a press conference on board the Rainbow Warrior, the Galician writer Manolo Rivas, one of the founders of Greenpeace Spain, recalled our famous campaign in the mid 1980s, which stopped the dumping of radioactive waste in the Atlantic ocean off Spain. Rivas urged Spanish people to mobilise against the "black tide', as they did against radioactive waste, to ensure that the Prestige catastrophe is never repeated.

Help us by taking action now to support this action. Demand that the European Union tighten up the loopholes and flag of convenience laws that allow deadly cargoes to sail past our fragile coasts legally. Demand an end to the tragedy of oil spills.

Join the discussion of the spill in Spain.

Take action online!

Send a protest message to Crown Oil and demand that the EU tighten up regulations on old, dangerous oil tankers. Click here to keep other ships in port.

Help us by making an urgent donation to our efforts to stop oil spills and move the world toward clean, renewable energy.