Bulker Master Pleads Guilty to Operating Ship While Intoxicated

Rainbow Quest (file image courtesy Norbulk)

By The Maritime Executive 12-23-2019 01:44:00

The master of the bulker Rainbow Quest has pleaded guilty to U.S. federal charges of operating a commercial cargo ship while intoxicated. Capt. Vadim Humenyuk, 51, admitted that he was under the influence of alcohol while Rainbow Quest was in San Francisco Bay and preparing to sail to South Korea.

The investigation began on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, when a San Francisco Bar Pilot contacted Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Vessel Traffic Service personnel reporting that the captain of the Rainbow Quest appeared to be intoxicated.  Investigators of the U.S. Coast Guard administered sobriety tests to Humenyuk late on the evening of December 10 and early the next morning.  After Humenyuk failed the sobriety tests, he was charged with operating a non-recreational vessel under the influence of alcohol.

Humenyuk faces a maximum penalty of up to one year of incarceration, an additional year of supervised release and a fine of up to $100,000.  Magistrate Judge Hixson scheduled Humenyuk’s sentencing hearing for January 3.

“I appreciate the outstanding collaboration from the San Francisco Bar Pilots, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Attorney’s office for ensuring safety on our waters, and protecting the maritime public, property, and environment,” said U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Marie Byrd. “The Coast Guard and our partners will not tolerate operating a vessel under the influence from any mariner, much less a commercial ship captain preparing to get a large cargo ship underway in San Francisco Bay.”

The case is being investigated by the United States Coast Guard and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Alexandra Shepard.