The judge withdraws the passport of the patron of the Galician fishing boat 'Villa de Pitanxo' after declaring as accused

The judge of the National Court Ismael Moreno has withdrawn this Monday the passport of Juan Padín, the skipper of the Galician fishing boat Villa de Pitanxo, that sank on February 15 450 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada) with 21 deceased sailors. This precautionary measure, in addition to the obligation to appear every two weeks in court, had been requested by the Prosecutor’s Office after listening to the employer – one of the only three survivors – in his interrogation of more than two hours before Moreno as an investigator for homicide. reckless as allegedly responsible for the shipwreck.

Contrary to what the relatives of the 21 victims had requested, some of them appearing as a private prosecution, Juan Padín will be able to enroll again in another ship of the Grupo Nores shipping company, since the Prosecutor’s Office did not oppose his absence and return to his usual job as a deep-sea fishing skipper, although his appearance will make it difficult for him to return to fishing. The request to decree preventive detention for Padín was also rejected.

The other two survivors of the shipwreck, the Ghanaian sailor Samuel Kwesi and Eduardo Rial, nephew of the skipper, have appeared in this order before the judge of the National Court Ismael Moreno, head of the Central Court of Instruction Number 2. The statements are made without the conflict of jurisdiction has been resolved to determine which judicial instance, the National High Court, or the Marin court, will be the one to instruct the case. Moreno decided that the Marín court should take charge, but it refused to take charge of the case.

Juan Padín, skipper of the fishing boat, has been summoned as an investigator to clarify his responsibility in the death of 21 crew members, since the National Court itself warned of possible crimes of reckless homicide, against the safety of the workers and falsehood in official document, having written a false version of what happened in the protest at sea —the record drawn up by the captain in the face of events for which he could be held responsible— which he signed at the Spanish consulate in Newfoundland. His nephew Eduardo Rial is also charged with a crime of falsehood for having signed the document that supports the employer’s version. For his part, the Ghanaian sailor testified as a witness.

The boss has confirmed his version of events. He has said that around 4 in the morning the ship’s engine stopped, emphasizing that this breakdown precipitated the tragedy. He insisted that he ordered the crew to put on survival suits and that there were units for everyone, although he specified that “it was the responsibility of each one to put it on since at that time the sailors were in shock,” he declared.

At this crucial point of the shipwreck, Samuel Kwesi confirmed his version contrary to that of the skipper and, according to him, it was the winches that collected the gear that stopped working and then the engine stopped, and that only Padín and Rial were wearing the suits of survival when the ship sank. Eduardo Rial detailed the event in a similar way to that of his uncle Juan Padín.

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The shipwreck gave rise to contradictory versions of the survivors before the Civil Guard days after returning to Spain. The Ghanaian sailor, who supported the story of the skipper and his nephew in Canada, later gave a different version and denied that the main engine had stopped, which gave rise to this case. The Judicial Police sent the proceedings to the National High Court when Kwesi held the employer responsible for what had happened and accused him of negligence.

In an extension of the report of the Civil Guard, manifestations of the sailors of the Menduina Two Beach, the Galician ship that rescued the three survivors and transferred to Newfoundland the 7 corpses that were rescued from the sea. According to these proceedings, several sailors testified that during the journey, the survivors had commented that they received pressure from the shipping company to give the same version of the events, according to sources in the investigation.

One hundred days after the shipwreck, the families of the deceased, some already involved in the case, have announced that they will sue jointly against the boss, his nephew and the shipowner company, Grupo Nores de Marín. They will ask for responsibilities for 21 alleged crimes of reckless homicide, serious crimes against the health of workers, false documentation and cover-up.

The relatives of the deceased have also announced a rally for this Wednesday at the gates of the Congress of Deputies to demand that the Government fulfill its promise to go down to the wreck and record images that help investigate the causes of the sinking. The spokesperson for those affected. María José de Pazo, has insisted that Spain has the means, such as the oceanographic ship Viscount of Ezawhich has just set sail to assess the stocks fisheries in the NAFO (North Atlantic Fisheries Organization) area. Relatives have criticized the fact that the oceanographic company does not include in its campaign the prospecting of the Villa de Pitanxo with a robot and the probe that a Norwegian company altruistically lent to try to locate the ship and take pictures.

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