Master sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment, the rest of the crew to 6.5 years, Greece
Master of the cargo vessel MESOGIO was sentenced to eight years and nine months of imprisonment by a Greek Court this week, five other crew were sentenced to a 6.5 year imprisonment, all six crew being of Ukrainian nationality. Freighter MESOGIO was seized by Greek CG on Feb 20 last year, after a big shipment of illegal cigarettes was found.
Mysterious freighter Mesogio arrested in Greece. Some secrets of contraband cigarettes industry.
Greek Coast Guard and law enforcement agency or agencies intercepted Tanzania-flagged general cargo vessel Mesogio in Messinian Gulf, Greece, and took her to Kalamata port, reportedly on Feb 20. 6 crew were arrested. A big shipment of contraband cigarettes was found on board, see pic. Sailing records of the vessel are rather mysterious. According to one AIS source, on Feb 16 vessel was in Crimean waters, but according to Greek Coast Guard photos, vessel is in Kalamata, all right, no doubt about it. In recent AIS records only one port is listed – Varna, Bulgaria. Vessel’s history contains other names and other flags, including Ukrainian flag. I have an information from law enforcement agency of one of Eastern European countries, that literally, hundreds of seafarers, mainly of Ukrainian and other Eastern Europe nationalities, were sentenced in Europe during last 2-3 years for cigarettes contraband trafficking. The whole story goes deeper than just that. There is the whole illegal industry under way in Ukraine and Russia, producing cigarettes and smuggling them to Europe. Multimillion business is said to be run by Russian oligarchs, with some part of the profit going into the pockets of high-ranking officials in southeast Europe States, those officials, who support and lobby Russia in the EU.
General cargo vessel Mesogio, IMO 8647311, dwt 324, built 1968, flag Tanzania.