Detained Coal Ship Finally Released
The Antonis G. Pappadakis is now en route to Brazil after being detained in Portsmouth, Virginia for more than five months. The coal ship and its crew of 20 left the port on Wednesday afternoon.
The ship was detained in April by federal authorities after a whistleblower led the U.S. Coast Guard personnel to conduct an inspection. Photos and testimony sparked a federal criminal case that alleged the use of a hose-and-pump system, known as a “magic pipe”, to bypass environmental regulations mandatory by international and U.S. laws.
The ship was held in detention while the legal case unfolded.
Last month, a jury found the owner, Lambros Katsipis, 59, not guilty of pollution-related charges, but guilty of falsification of records and obstruction of justice. Katsipis was released on bond and will be sentenced on December 16. He faces up to three years in prison.
The ship’s Malta-based owner, Angelex Ltd., and its operator, Kassian Maritime Navigation Agency Ltd., were found not guilty.