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Singapore Sentences Tanker Captains

July 15, 1998 GMT

SINGAPORE (AP) _ A Singapore court sentenced two oil tanker captains to jail time and fines on Tuesday for a collision last year that caused the port city’s worst-ever oil spill.

Both men had pleaded guilty to negligence and other charges in the Oct. 15 incident that dumped 29,000 tons of heavy fuel into the Singapore Strait.

The ships had strayed out of their assigned lanes and the captains didn’t heed repeated warnings just before the collision.

The court sentenced Michael Chalkitis, the 58-year-old Greek captain of the fully-laden Evoikos, to three months imprisonment and fined him the maximum $35,100.


Jan Sokolowski, 54, the Polish captain of the other ship, the Orapin Global, received a two month jail term and a $6,400 fine. Both men had pleaded guilty

Noting that the high cost of the spill, District Judge Adrian Soon said ``offenses associated with the violation of safety regulations ... must be treated firmly and with utmost severity.″

Chalkitis has appealed the prison sentence but will pay the fine. Sokolowski had not yet decided whether to appeal any portion of his punishment.

The owners of the Orapin Global, a Thai supertanker, and the Evoikos, from Cyprus, are suing each other for damages.

Other businesses affected by the spill are also suing for compensation and Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority is seeking to recover the $17.5 million it spent on the cleanup operation.

Some 16 government and private organizations, 650 workers and a total of 80 boats joined in a massive cleanup after the accident.