Pilot requested police to breathalyse ship captain in charge of tanker carrying chemicals

A 53-year-old tanker captain who was in charge of a laden chemical tanker crossing the North Sea has pleaded guilty to being the Master of a ship whilst being over the alcohol limit and was sentenced to two months in jail.

Captain Gonchar Volodymyr, a Ukrainian, was Master of the Cypriot registered chemical tankerElousa Trikoukiotisabound for London from Rostock in Northern Germany. The vessel was laden with Ammonium Nitrate in liquid form and had a crew of 15 on board. He will be deported upon completion of his sentence.

When the pilot boarded at the Sunk boarding area on 4 November, he reported to the Port Authority that the Master appeared drunk. Metropolitan Police officers boarded the vessel berthed at Dagenham Dock and administered a breath test which proved positive.

The Captain was arrested and taken to Dagenham Police Station where a later breath test indicated 103 micrograms of alcohol in 100 micrograms of breath. The legal limit for seafarers is the 80, the same as for road users.

On passing sentence, Her Honour Judge J Hughes QC took into account Mr. Volodymyrs previous good character and the effects of the sentence upon his career.

Bryan Hopkins, Surveyor-in-Charge at the MCAs Orpington Marine Office said,

Captain Volodymyr was in command of a vessel that had a strict no alcohol policy with 15 persons on board and carrying a dangerous cargo transiting one of the busiest shipping areas in the world. The Captain was relieved of his command by the ship’s owners following his arrest.