A federal judge Thursday sentenced two former chief engineers of a chemical tanker marketed as one of the world's most environmentally friendly ships.
The sentence was for time they've already served, for pollution crimes uncovered while the vessel was docked in North Charleston.
Judge Margaret Seymour also sentenced Panagiotis Koutoukakis and Herbert Julian — former crew members of the Green Sky — to one year of supervised release. The men had faced prison sentences of about two years. Judge Seymour said the men's actions were the result of company culture by the ship's operator — Aegean Shipping Management — that encouraged illegal behavior.
Koutoukakis was found guilty in a trial this year of falsifying the ship's oil-record book to cover up a series of illegal pollution discharges from the Green Sky. Julian, who succeeded Koutoukakis as the ship's chief engineer, was found guilty of an obstruction charge. Both men will be allowed to return to their home countries — Koutoukakis to Greece, Julian to the Philippines — after having been detained for nearly two years in Charleston.
The Coast Guard began an investigation of the Green Sky while it was docked in North Charleston in August 2015. Three crew members told investigators that bilge waste was being discharged illegally into the ocean through a "magic pipe" — a yellow hose that hooked into various pipes to allow a bypass of the ship's oil and water separator.
The 600-foot Green Sky is part of Aegean's so-called "Green Fleet" of tankers advertised on the company's website as offering "the best performance at sea, and the best returns for our environment."
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