Drunk skipper five times over limit


A ship’s captain who was more than five times over the legal alcohol limit while bringing his logging ship to dock in Northland has been fined $3000.
Anthony Baker, 53, pleaded guilty in the Whangarei District Court this morning to contravening special blood alcohol limit under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 section 40c.
He blew 1345mg of alcohol per litre of breath.
The limit for a seafarer is 250mg.
Baker’s lawyer Nick Leader told the court his client has been suspended by his employer and that it would be difficult for him to find work in a similar profession in future.
Baker, from the United Kingdom, sought to pay a fine rather than reappear for sentencing at a later date as he wanted to go back home.
He was assisting the docking of the Shansi, a 40,000-tonne logging ship, at North Port on Friday afternoon when Maritime New Zealand and police were called for help after Baker smelled of alcohol.
He was taken off the ship and to the Whangarei police station where he was breath-tested.
The Shansi has since left port.
Baker expressed remorse in court and accepted he has to get over his drinking problem.
In 2005, he was diagnosed with post stress traumatic disorder and took 10 months off work.
Police earlier said a pilot, who was helping dock the ship thought the captain appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and reported it to him.
He in turn reported it to Maritime New Zealand, which asked for help from the Whangarei police.
A blood alcohol limit for on-duty seafarers was introduced to the Maritime Transport Act in 2013 as part of the Maritime Transport Amendment Bill. Breaching the limit carries a 12 month term of imprisonment or a $10,000 fine.
NZME-Northern Advocate

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