Posted on December 13, 2018 by Ilias Kiritsis

The Captain of a chemical tanker was sentenced and lost his position as Master, after having been found drinking aboard the vessel, moments before the vessel was due to depart Port Taranaki, NZ on the evening of December the 11th.

Saurabh Kumar Singh, Shipmaster of the SG Pegasus, a Panama-flagged tanker, was waiting for his vessel to be guided out of the harbour, when a pilot suspected he might have been drinking and phoned police and Maritime New Zealand.

When the authorities arrived on the ship, Singh failed his initial breath test and then was taken to the local police station for an evidential breath test, which he also failed.

The findings showed a reading of 881 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, which was in breach of the Maritime Transport Act limit. For reference, a seafarer’s legal limit is 250mcgs aboard international ships.

The Captain was charged with exceeding the imposed alcohol limit, to which he pleaded guilty in the New Plymouth District Court on Thursday.

“His decision to drink while in charge of his ship put his crew, seafarers on other ships and even the environment, local economies and communities at risk. While extremely disappointed with this master’s actions to begin with, we are pleased with the prompt actions of the pilots in bringing this to our attention, the police for their support, and the shipping company for reinforcing their no tolerance approach to alcohol on board the ship.” Said in a statement, Maritime NZ’s regional manager, Michael-Paul Abbott.

The master was also in breach of Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Singapore (the firm in charge of managing the vessel) policy, and thus was subsequently let go.

In addition, Singh was made to pay a fine of $1000 NZD (approximately $690 USD), plus court costs, by 5pm Thursday.

The Pegasus was due to sail on to Nelson and then Lyttleton with a cargo of methanol, but local authorities ordered that the vessel should remain in New Plymouth until a new master could be brought onboard

Subsequently, a replacement Master was found, and on December the 12th, the vessel was yet again underway.


Image Courtesy of Marine Traffic

Posted in News , Risk , Safety , New Zealand

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