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Vessel Master Arrested for Intoxication by U.S. Coast Guard

A Ukrainian national employed as Master of the M/V “Leeds Castle” has been arrested and charged with operating a commercial vessel under the influence of alcohol. In a joint statement, Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Rear Adm. Robert Duncan, Commander Eighth Coast Guard District, and Special Agent in Charge Donald G. Lane of the Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service (CGIS) Gulf Region, announced the arrest of Yuriy Roshkalyov.

Roshkalyov was arrested and removed from the vessel on April 17, 2006. A New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association (NOBRA) pilot, who despite being advised that the Master was not coming to the bridge because he was ill, insisted on seeing Roshkalyov. When the NOBRA Pilot smelled alcohol on the Master as he entered the bridge, he refused to sail based upon his suspicion of Roshkalyov being intoxicated and then departed the vessel due to concern for his own safety. A Saint James Parish Sheriff's Deputy responded to the call for assistance and assisted in the administration of a breathalyzer test which revealed an alcohol level of .252 on the Alco-senor 4.

Federal law stipulates that a person operating a commercial vessel on the waters of the United States is considered legally intoxicated if his blood alcohol concentration level exceeds .040. The Ukrainian is being held pending the outcome of the charges.

U.S. Attorney Letten also thanked the U.S. Coast Guard, the NOBRA river pilot and the St. James Parish Sheriff's Office for united assistance in making the arrest possible. He went on to add that the event would serve as an important signal to the nation and the world that operating in US waters while under the influence of drugs or alcohol would not be tolerated and would be treated as a serious threat to the safety of other mariners, the general public, and maritime commerce and transportation.