Spain sues ABS over ‘Prestige’ in New York federal court
The Kingdom of Spain has filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against the American Bureau of Shipping, a Houston-based vessel classification society, in federal court in New York’s Southern District, alleging that ABS engaged in “negligent, reckless conduct” leading to the sinking of the tanker 'Prestige' off the Spanish coast.
Brian Starer, an attorney with Holland and Knight, a law firm that represents Spain, told Shipper’s News Wire, “we’re going to seek damages of no less than $700 million, and probably much more.”
Spain accused ABS of covering up errors and omissions in ABS’s certification of the 'Prestige,' and asserted that ABS should pay for environmental damage resulting from the wreck of the tanker.
Stewart Wade, an ABS vice president, confirmed ABS would be represented by the New York law firm of Burke & Parsons. “We will responding shortly,” Wade said.
Spain has asked for a jury trial, unusual in admiralty-oriented cases. U.S. District Judge Laura Swain will preside.
Wade said a second case against ABS in regard to the 'Prestige' had been filed in a Texas state court by Spain’s Basque province. In that legal action, the plaintiff is seeking approximately $50 million in damages.