The judge of the National High Court Ismael Moreno has agreed to withdraw the passport from the employer of the Villa de Pitanxo, Juan Padín, after his statement as a defendant this Monday for his alleged responsibility in the death of 21 sailors in the sinking of the Galician fishing boat on February 15 in Newfoundland waters. The head of the Central Court of Instruction Number 2 has also imposed the obligation to appear every 15 days in court.
Newfoundland, the sea of hell where Galician sailors search for Greenland halibut and cod
Moreno accepts, thus, the requests of the Prosecutor’s Office, to which the families of the deceased had adhered. Furthermore, some of the victims’ relatives requested house arrest for the ship’s skipper, reports Europa Press.
According to sources who were present at the statement, Padín has confirmed the version that, around 04:00 in the morning, the ship’s engine stopped and that, due to bad weather, the port side was flooded and caused the ship to tilt. He claimed that he gave the order for the entire crew to put on the survival suit. There were enough for everyone, he said.
This version of events differs from that given by another of the three survivors, the Ghanaian-born sailor Samuel Kwesi, who reported that there was no express order for the suits to be put on and that it caught his attention because the skipper and his nephew, Eduardo Rial -the third survivor- they did. According to the same sources, in his statement, Padín argued that it was the responsibility of each man to put it on and that the crew was in shock. Kwesi, summoned to testify as a witness, also repeated his account of what happened: he denies that the engine stopped and that led to the sinking. He claims that the winches that pick up the gear stopped working well, tensioning but not picking up, and this is what caused the list.
The crew, he added, yelled at the skipper to drop the gear, something he did not do. With the ship already very banked, the engine stopped, which caused the port list to increase.
Eduardo Rial, also cited as a witness, has reaffirmed what he had previously stated about the shipwreck. His account of what happened coincides with the one made by his uncle. That day they worked aboard the Villa de Pitanxo 24 sailors. Only three of them were rescued alive. In the hours following the shipwreck, nine bodies were recovered from the water, but another 12 remain unaccounted for. A court decreed his death in early March. The families of the victims have not stopped mobilizing to ask, first for the search to continue in the area, and now for a robot to descend to the wreck in search of evidence of what happened.
The National Court has begun to carry out the proceedings in a case that is pending determination of which court it corresponds to. The National Court referred him to a court in Marín, which rejected the inhibition. The decision as to who is responsible must be taken by the Supreme Court.