Ship with Intoxicated Master Denied Port Entry

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
The Captain of the Port of Hampton Roads has denied entry to a foreign freight ship after a Coast Guard boarding team determined the master was intoxicated.

A Coast Guard Sea Marshal team boarded the 214-foot General Lee, flagged in Panama, at 6 a.m. today offshore. The vessel was targeted for both security and safety boardings using the Coast Guard’s standard risk assessment procedures. The Sea Marshal team boarded the vessel while a team of safety inspectors waited on a nearby Coast Guard vessel. After the team detected alcohol on the breath of the master they conducted a field sobriety test, which he failed. The master refused to cooperate with a chemical test using a Breathalyzer. Under U.S. regulations, a person refusing a chemical test when directed by a law enforcement officer based on reasonable cause is considered intoxicated.

The vessel has been directed to remain at anchor offshore until completion of the safety exam, which will not be conducted until the master is found to be sober based on a chemical test administered by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard plans to seek civil penalties against the operator of the vessel

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