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An analysis of over 65 modern ship casualties and oil spills. Investigates the impact of the tanker catastrophes Prestige, Erika, and Castor had on European environmental law. In particular analyses the role of the Prestige and Erika on formulating a list of Places of Refuge by various coastal states, as encouraged by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an affiliate of the United Nations. These oil spills had far-reaching consequences and led to public outrage and indirectly to the democratic downfall of the Spanish government, whose response to the Prestige sinking was deemed slow and ineffective. The government forced the disabled ship away from land, where it broke up and sank, causing some US$6 Billion in coastal and environmental damage to the Atlantic coasts of Spain and France. Written by the holder of a license in Maritime Law, experienced captain and former tanker operator, in fulfillment of a Masters in Marine Affairs degree, this paper has been requested by all the parties to a long-standing multi-billion-dollar legal action, including the classification society, the ship's flag state, and lawyers representing various governments involved. It tests hypothesis and draws conclusions, most of them contrary to the expected result, using honed academic methodologies and original data. Illustrated with black and white photographs, charts, graphs, and diagrams.

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