Master Fined for Alcohol Offense while Leaving New Zealand Port
The master of the tanker SG Pegasus has been fined for exceeding the alcohol limit for a seafarer while preparing to leave the port of New Plymouth in New Zealand on December 11.
The New Plymouth District Court has fined Saurabh Kumar Singh NZ$1,000 ($690); he has also been removed from his position as master.
New Plymouth pilots became concerned at Singh’s behavior when they boarded SG Pegasus to help guide the tanker out of New Plymouth Harbour. The pilots contacted Maritime NZ’s local Maritime Officer who attended on board with Police. The master failed an initial breath test on board and was then taken to the local police station for an evidential breath test which he also failed. Police subsequently prosecuted the man on behalf of Maritime NZ.
Singh has been a seafarer for 17 years. He had a reading exceeding 880 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath, breaching the Maritime Transport Act limit of 250 micrograms for seafarers on board international ships. The master was also in breach of Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Singapore’s policy that no alcohol can be on board at any time.
The Panama-flagged tanker was due to sail on to Nelson and then Lyttleton with a cargo of methanol, but Maritime NZ ordered that the vessel remain in New Plymouth while a replacement master was put on board in order to meet safe manning standards.
“The master is legally responsible for their ship and all on board, and must be able to carry out their duties safely,” said Maritime NZ’s Regional Manager Michael-Paul Abbott. “Alcohol can impair the ability to make appropriate judgments and increases the risks of accidents.
“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.”