Skipper of chemical tanker arrested off Harwich

A drunken skipper of a chemical tanker which was crossing a busy yachting area was sentenced to two months in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court today.

Captain Gonchar Volodymyr aged 53, 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 microgram’s of alcohol in 100
microgram’s of breath. The legal limit for seafarers is 80, the
same as for road users.

On passing sentence, Judge J Hughes QC took into account
Mr. Volodymyr’s previous good character and record. She noted that he
had now lost his job and the effects of the sentence upon his career.

Bryan Hopkins, Surveyor-in-Charge at the MCA’s 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 ship’s owners following his arrest.’