At a hearing today at Lyndhurst Magistrates Court, the Master of the Singapore Registered tanker Nord Fast pleaded guilty to one offence of failing to supply a specimen after having been arrested on suspicion of having the proportion of alcohol in his breath exceed the prescribed limit (35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres).
In the early hours of Wednesday 8th September 2010 Nord Fast, a 176 metre long tanker with a displacement of 48,983 tonnes was proceeding into Fawley oil refinery jetty with the assistance of a pilot.
The Pilot became concerned about the state of the Captain, Rajesh Kuman Singh (41) and subsequently the police attended the vessel and Captain Singh was breathalysed. He failed that test and so was arrested and taken to the police station for further tests. At the police station he recorded a reading of 78 but then failed to undertake a second test which is required by the procedures.
In summing up the Magistrates stated:-
"This is a very serious matter which was aggravated by your position of authority and your responsibility for the Vessel and crew, her size and the amount of fuel cargo that she was carrying. It is however mitigated by the fact that there was a Pilot on board and that you did try to provide a specimen, your early plea and your clean record."
The magistrates fined Captain Singh £1600 plus £85 cost and £15 Victim support charge.
Keith Tatman, Head of Navigation Safety at the MCA said:-
"The Master has responsibility at all times for the safety of his ship, her crew and any other users of the sea with which his vessel may interact. To put any of them at risk due to the use of alcohol, at any time but particularly when within a very busy commercial and leisure harbour falls well below the standards expected of a Master Mariner"
When the vessel arrived at Fawley oil terminal, it was visited by Port State Control officers from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, who detained the vessel with a number of defects.
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