Panagiotis Koutoukakis, a Greek national and the chief engineer of a chemical tanker that docked in North Charleston in 2015, was charged this week with falsifying the ship’s oil record book to cover up illegal pollution discharges, according to court documents. He is facing one felony charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Currently, he is free on an unsecured $25,000 bond while he awaits trial. He is not allowed to leave South Carolina without the court’s permission.
It has been alleged based on an affidavit filed in federal court that Koutoukakis ordered crew members to bypass the ship’s oil and water separator and discharge oily waste overboard six times from May 2015 through July 2015. He then failed to record the discharges as required by law in the ship’s oil record book.
In August 2015, the crew members of the vessel docked in North Charleston reported to the U.S. Coast Guard that bilge waste was being discharged illegally into the waters. They also informed the officials that they had been instructed to use a “magic pipe” — a yellow hose that hooked into various pipes to allow a bypass of the ship’s oil and water separator. Documents show that thousands of gallons of bilge waste has contaminated with petroleum products and oil might have been dumped into the waters. In the same line of cases, the ship’s Captain pleaded guilty in Charleston to one felony charge of obstructing a U.S. Coast Guard investigation in February. However, he has not been sentenced as yet.
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Source: The Post and Courier