Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 3, 2013

Detained coal ship departs Virginia after trial

Associated Press

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A coal ship detained in Portsmouth for more than five months is on its way to Brazil.

The Maltese-flagged Antonis G. Pappadakis and its crew of about 20 left the port Wednesday afternoon. Federal authorities detained the ship in April after a whistle-blower passed a note to Coast Guard personnel conducting an inspection. The whistle-blower claimed the vessel’s oily water separator had been bypassed and that oily bilge water had been discharged.

Last month, a federal jury found the owner, Malta-based Angelex Ltd., and the operator, Kassian Navigation Agency Ltd., not guilty of several pollution-related charges. The ship’s former chief engineer, Lambros Katsipis, 59, of Greece, was convicted on seven charges, including falsification of records and obstruction of justice. He was released on bond and will be sentenced on Dec. 16. He faces up to three years in prison.

The verdicts cleared the way for the ship to leave Virginia.

Portsmouth Seafarer’s Center president Geoge Brisbin tells The Virginian-Pilot  that the ship’s captain is excited to get the ship back to sea.

“The ship is a happy ship right now,” Brisbin said as the ship set sail Wednesday, laden with coal.