Genaro Anciano, the former captain of 600ft chemical tanker Green Sky that dumped thousands of gallons of waste into the Atlantic Ocean while docked in South Carolina’s port, will be allowed to return home to the Philippines after a federal judge sentenced him to time served. Anciano pleaded guilty to felony obstruction after lying to US Coast Guard investigators about the oily bilge waste dumped by Green Sky in August 2015.
Anciano eventually helped build the prosecutors’ case against Green Sky crew members, who were convicted in a jury trial last month and who are now awaiting sentence. Anciano said after his release, through an interpreter, that he had been told to keep quiet about the pollution and had feared for his job. In a separate hearing in Charleston, Aegean Shipping Management, the operator of Green Sky, was fined $2m, being ordered by Judge Margaret Seymour to pay $1.7m for trying to conceal the pollution and $300,000 to Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, a protected natural reef off the Georgia coast.
Aegean’s attorney, George Chalos, told Judge Seymour that the company was committed to protecting the environment and did not know why crew members dumped waste into the ocean.
Prosecutors want $500,000 of the fine to be split between Green Sky’s three whistleblowers, who told USCG that bilge waste was being illegally dumped into the ocean through a “magic pipe” — a hose that bypassed the ship’s oil and water separator. Chief engineer Panagiotis Koutoukakis was convicted of falsifying the ship’s oil record book. Herbert Julian, his successor, was convicted of obstruction. Both men will be sentenced later.