Stiff jail sentences handed to cigarette smuggling crew

A Russian captain was sentenced to eight years, nine months jail in Greece this week for smuggling millions of contraband cigarettes while five Ukranian crewmembers were handed six and a half year sentences.

The men were working on the Tanzanian flagged Mesogio when it was detained by the Greek coastguard last February.

Investigators found more than 66m Libyan cigarettes onboard, and reckon the Mesogio was the mother ship in a large Russian smuggling operation with other smaller vessels likely planned to take consignments from it.

Shipping database Equasis notes that the 1968-built Mesogio is owned by a company registered in the Marshall Islands called Dimare Marine.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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