Tanker captain sentenced for breaking alcohol limit while leaving NZ port

SG Pegasus Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Eric Stewart
SG Pegasus Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Eric Stewart
Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Eric Stewart – SG Pegasus
Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Eric Stewart – SG Pegasus

The New Plymouth District Court has fined the captain of a Panama-registered oil and chemical tanker NZ$1,000 (US$686.75) for exceeding the alcohol limit for a seafarer.

Saurabh Kumar Singh was master of SG Pegasus which was due to depart New Plymouth on the evening of Tuesday, December 11. Mr Singh has been removed from his position as master in addition to being fined.

New Plymouth pilots became concerned at Mr Singh's behaviour when they boarded SG Pegasus to help guide the tanker out of New Plymouth Harbour. The pilots contacted Maritime New Zealand'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.

The master had a reading exceeding 880 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, breaching the Maritime Transport Act limit of 250 micrograms for seafarers on board international ships.

The master was also in breach of shipping company Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Singapore's policy that the vessel should be a "dry ship," meaning that no alcohol can be onboard at any time.

The tanker was due to sail on to Nelson and then to Lyttleton 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.

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