November 2002 - Spain oil spill: quick facts

28 January 2003

  • 654 out of 1064 beaches have been affected at various levels on the Spanish Atlantic coast
  • Total number of birds affected during the first two months of the Prestige oil spill was between 65,000 and 130,000. The most affected species continue to be Guillemot (5,691 live and dead), Razorbill (2,248 live and dead) and Puffin (1,877 live and dead)

11 December 2002

  • 15 holes counted in the sunken wreck
  • From 30 to 40 tonnes of oil leaking from the wreck each day
  • Oil takes around 1 day to reach the surface
  • Leaking could continue for up to 3 years
  • 90,000 livelihoods affected

23 November 2002

  • North-west corner of Spain (locally known as the "Death Coast"), has seen three tanker disasters in the last 25 years
  • Estimated 12,000 of original 77,000 tonnes has leaked so far
  • 23 November - off-limits area for fishing enlarged to more than 180 miles
  • Tanker has sunk in more than 3,000m of water
  • Position : 211km off the Spanish/Portuguese coast, near the Las Islas Cíes National Park (in Spanish)
  • The boat is resting in an underwater channel that separates the Galician Bank from the continental shelf.
  • This area is a seamount - an underwater mountain - and has very high biodiversity, much of which has not yet been identified (more details: pdf 400kb)
  • The stern sank at around 12.00 GMT and the bow at around 16.00 GMT 19 November
  • More than 60,000 tonnes was taken down with the ship in containers
  • 915km of coastline covered
  • Ship operators: Laurel Sea Transport, Athens, Greece
  • Owners: Mare shipping, Liberia  
  • Species affected include: porpoises, guillemots, gannets, some species of sheerwater, black legged kittiwakes, European shag
  • To date, several thousand oil-soaked birds have been brought to various cleaning centres around the spill site
  • Oil pollution could affect the area for up to 20 years
  • 19 November: 4,000 tonnes of oil have come ashore with a financial impact estimated to be worth 100 million Euros, affecting 2,500 jobs in the fishing industry, and hence over 4,500 families in the area
  • Ship facts (from SMIT): Bahamas flagged Tanker; deadweight tonnage of 81,564 tonnes; 243.50 meters in length; 34.40 meters in width; built in 1976

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