The trial for the "Andromeda" freighter, which was intercepted north of Crete on January 6 with a cargo of at least 400 tons of explosives, opened in Athens on Tuesday under charges of trying to break a UN arms sales embargo imposed on Libya.
The Tanzania-flagged ship carried a crew of eight, including the captain and first lieutenant, and is owned by a Greek national.
According to the Greek Port Authorities (PA), the cargo was loaded in Mersin, Turkey and was heading to Djibouti in East Africa with its final destination a mining company in Ethiopia.
The owner and its crew, who have been detained in Korydallos jail, were brought before the criminal court of Piraeus today.
The trial began shortly after 11:00 a.m. and only one PA official testified before the trial was adjourned to October 25.
The Greek owner’s attorney denied all charges, saying that “there is no evidence whatsoever that the ship was heading to Libya,” and claimed that the PA’s inspection did not comply with Greek or European laws.
The attorney for the Ukrainian captain and its first lieutenant also claimed the inspection was illegal, and said additionally that the man interpreting for the Greek authorities was a naval officer, not an impartial individual.
A lawyer representing five Indian nationals on the crew also supported the main argument of legality, adding that the crew has no control over the ship’s itinerary, while claims of delivery to Libya he said were insupportable.
The same ship had been investigated while sailing at the Ionian Sea in 2015 and held with its cargo of ammonium nitrate. A prosecutor had released the ship and the detained crew members.