Devon drunk sailor fined and suspended in New Zealand

image sourceGoogle
image captionThe captain was arrested at Marsden Point, north of Auckland

A British captain who was five times over the legal alcohol limit while berthing his cargo ship in New Zealand has been fined and suspended.

Anthony Baker, 53, from Devon, was breath-tested after harbour staff noticed he "smelled of alcohol" as they helped dock the 40,000-tonne vessel Shansi north of Auckland on Friday.

He admitted breaching New Zealand's maritime law in court on Monday.

He was fined 3,000 New Zealand dollars (US$2,222; £1,692).

A spokesperson for Maritime New Zealand said he was arrested after local pilots on the north island were "concerned the master smelled of alcohol" at the time of the docking at Marsden Point.

Whangarei District Court heard Anthony Baker was not on duty when the 656 foot (200-metre) multi-purpose cargo carrier, Shansi was due to berth, but was called to the bridge because of problems getting the engine under way and lifting anchor.

The court was told he had been suspended by his employer.

Police said his reading was 1,345 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath - the New Zealand limit is 250.

Neil Rowarth, the regional manager for New Zealand's maritime authority, said the conviction and fine sent "a strong warning" to seafarers that they will be prosecuted if they exceed the alcohol limit.

"Alcohol impairs judgment and increases the risk of accidents. Where we find seafarers over the limit, we will take action," he said.

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