Port authorities in Gdansk had to intervene to prevent a collision ©  NurPhoto / Getty Images
Port authorities in Gdansk had to intervene to prevent a collision © NurPhoto / Getty Images

Russian container ship held due to drunken crew

9 December 2021

A Russian container ship has been detained after the crew were found to be drunk when it veered out of a shipping lane and headed at speed towards the coast.

The Maritime Office in Gdynia confirmed it had detained the ship, reportedly the Ruslan, following the incident off the port of Gdansk.

The container ship, which can carry up to 7,750 tonnes of cargo, was spotted by harbour authorities at 4am on Saturday 4 December, sailing directly towards the coast at 11 knots. 

The vessel rang alarm bells after it steered out of the shipping lane, which prompted the harbourmaster and Maritime Office to make contact with the ship via radio.

The Maritime Office’s calls went unanswered, leading it to send a patrol boat to make an “urgent intervention” with the cargo ship.

“Officers from the Kashubian Border Guard Squadron boarded the ship and checked the sobriety of the crew. Three of the crew, including the captain, were intoxicated,” said the Maritime Office.

The Maritime Office said without intervention the Ruslana would have caused a “threat to maritime traffic” and risked becoming stranded off shore. 

Blood alcohol tests showed the captain to have drunk the equivalent of half a litre of vodka and the crew members more, according to the Maritime Executive.

Aleksey Surovtsev, the general director of the shipping company Transflot, which owns the ship, told Russian news outlet Izvestia the drunken crew members would be replaced. He said sailors were leaving Kaliningrad to do so.

The Maritime Office said the ship was currently anchored and had been issued with a detention note. It said police were notified about the case.

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