Drunk Master Sentenced to Jail

Friday, November 21, 2008
The Elousa Trikoukiotisa

In the UK’s Snaresbrook Crown Court on Nov. 19, Captain Gonchar Volodymyr aged 53, was sentenced to two months in jail, and will be deported upon completion of the sentence after pleading guilty to being the Master of a ship whilst being over the alcohol limit.

On the 4th November 2008, Gonchar Volodymyr, a Ukrainian, was Master of the Cypriot registered chemical tanker; Elousa Trikoukiotisa bound 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. When the pilot boarded at the Sunk boarding area, 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 record. She noted that he had now lost his job and the effects of the sentence upon his career.

However she also noted the nature of cargo and that the navigation of vessel had been satisfactory, but that was down to Chief Officer who had taken over. It was also brought up in court that the Master had signed the ships documents stating no alcohol onboard but that he had said that it had been 8 hrs since his last drink.

Bryan Hopkins, Surveyor-in-Charge at the MCAs Orpington Marine Office said, “Although the limit is the same as for road drivers, I cannot emphasise the seriousness of this situation. 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 ships owners following his arrest.”

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