Captain's MMC Suspended After Alcohol-related Grounding
A tugboat captain's Merchant Mariner Credential has been suspended after it was determined that he was operating his vessel under the influence of alcohol during a grounding incident in eastern Virginia.
On November 14, 2019, the tugboat Niki Jo C drifted off course and ran aground outside the main channel of the Rappahannock River.
In conducting their investigation, the US Coast Guard, the Virginia Marine Resource Commission and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office tested the crew's blood alcohol content to determine if alcohol was a causative factor. The results showed that the captain of the vessel was intoxicated at the time of the incident, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal federal limit for operation of a commercial vessel of 0.04% as found in 33 CFR 95.020(b).
Coast Guard Sector Virginia took expedited action to suspend the captain's Merchant Mariner Credential on December 4.
The suspension will be for a period of 12 months, followed by a six month probation period, provided that the mariner satisfactorily completes all conditions of his settlement agreement. If he fails to complete or satisfy the conditions of his settlement agreement, then the credential will be permanently revoked.