The Prestige sinking: The arbitration proceedings initiated in the United Kingdom cannot block the recognition of the Spanish judgment ordering the insurer to pay compensation for the damage caused by the oil spill

(Source: Court of Justice of the European Union)

A judgment confirming an arbitral award can prevent the recognition of judicial decisions from other Member States only if the content of that award could also have been the subject of a judicial decision adopted in compliance with the provisions and fundamental objectives of Regulation No 44/2001

In November 2002, the M/T Prestige, an oil tanker flying the flag of the Bahamas, split in two following a violent storm and sank off the coast of Galicia (Spain). It was transporting 70 000 tons of fuel oil, which spilled, causing significant damage to beaches, towns and villages along the north coast of Spain and the west coast of France. Thus began a lengthy legal dispute between the insurer of the vessel (The London Steam-Ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association Limited (‘the London P&I Club’)) and Spain in two different sets of proceedings initiated in two Member States.

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