Captain intoxicated when tug went aground in Virginia

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) — Coast Guard Sector Virginia took expedited action to suspend the merchant mariner credential of a ship's captain on Dec. 4 after it was determined that he was operating the vessel under the influence of alcohol during an accident that caused the vessel to become grounded.

The tugboat Niki Jo C drifted off course and ran aground outside the main channel of the Rappahannock River on Nov. 14.

The Coast Guard, the  Virginia Marine Resource Commission, and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation that included testing the crew's blood alcohol content to determine if alcohol was a causative factor. The results showed that the captain of the vessel was intoxicated at the time of the incident, with a BAC above the legal federal limit for operation of a commercial vessel of 0.04 percent as found in 33 CFR 95.020(b).

The suspension will be for a period of 12 months, followed by a six-month probation period, provided that the mariner satisfactorily completes all conditions of his settlement agreement. If he fails to complete or satisfy the conditions of his settlement agreement, then the credential will be permanently revoked.

By Professional Mariner Staff