Ship Captain First to be charged under Anti-Invasive Species Law

[I]Associated Press - July 15, 2009 7:14 PM ET [/I]

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The captain of a cargo ship has pleaded guilty in New Orleans to charges he violated federal anti-pollution laws and obstructed a Coast Guard investigation.

Federal prosecutors say Greek citizen Panagiotis Lekkas knew his ship had a fuel leak before arriving in New Orleans last year but failed to report it to the Coast Guard.

Also pleading guilty Wednesday was Charles P. Posas, a citizen of the

Philippines who was the second highest ranked officer aboard the ship. Posas pleaded guilty to lying to the Coast Guard and violating record keeping laws aimed at reducing the risk of marine invasive species.
Prosecutors say Posas was the first individual to be charged under an anti-invasive species law.

Sentencing for Lekkas and Posas is set for Oct. 14.