Wrongly Accused Chief Engineer Takes Intentional Polluters To Task

This past April, Ioannis Mylonakis, the former Chief Engineer of the tanker GEORGIOS M was wrongly accused of masterminding a magic pipe scheme despite having served on board for approximately only two (2) months. After being detained for more than fourteen (14) months at a road side motel in Houston, Mr. Mylonakis stood trial and was completely exonerated of all wrong doing by a Houston jury. The five (5) count felony acquittal of the Chief Engineer stands in stark contrast to the conviction of the vessel's operator, who voluntarily pled guilty and admitted to a long-standing, three (3) year criminal practice of intentionally polluting the sea.

On August 24, 2010, Mr. Mylonakis, through his lawyers, Chalos & Co, P.C., filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The suit is aimed at restoring Mylonakis' dignity and obtaining just compensation for the ordeal he and his family were forced to endure. The real blame for the criminal violations onboard the Mamidakis Group-owned and controlled M/T GEORGIOS M (detected, investigated, and prosecuted last year by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Justice) lies within the Mamidakis Group. The Texas jury that tried and acquitted Mr. Mylonakis recognized and rejected the scapegoat strategy employed by the vessel's interests and handed him back quickly his liberty after only a short deliberation. When asked about the case, attorney George Gaitas stated: "Despite a complete acquittal and vindication by the jury, Ioannis paid a heavy toll in the ordeal. He was forced to unjustifiably lose his freedom for a year and a half; during which time he was unable to live his life. He wasn't even allowed to see his daughter. Also, his personal dignity, health, wealth, reputation, and professional opportunities were seriously and, in many respects, irreparably harmed. Here, we will be asking the jury to make him whole to extent they can for what he has been caused to suffer."

When asked about the impact this case may have on future magic pipe cases, Marpol specialist, George Chalos commented: "First, we are going to do everything humanly possible to get justice for the Mylonakis family. Beyond that, we hope the result will be a lesson and a serious deterrent for anyone who ever even thinks about trying to opportunistically blame the little guy. The defendants made a major mistake in how they handled the case and the strategy has backfired miserably. They are going to pay a heavy price for maliciously blaming an innocent man. We are confident that a Texas jury is not going to look kindly on rich, admitted polluters who tried to scapegoat the last man on the ship in order to save a few bucks."

Counsel continued, "it is both our and Mr. Mylonakis' most sincere hope that no one will ever have to go through what the Mylonakis family did and that the fair treatment of seafarers remain front and center for all concerned in future matters."

Read Tradewinds coverage of the commencement of the lawsuit

Read Lloyds List coverage of the commencement of the lawsuit

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