Danes Arrest Captain for “Drink Driving” After his Ship Grounded

captain arrested for drunk driving
The cargo ship seen from the Navy Home Guard's inflatable boat (Home Guard photo)

Published May 27, 2022 12:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

Danish police arrested the captain of a small, Cypriot-flagged cargo ship for “drink driving” after responding to reports that the vessel had gone aground shortly after departing for a trip between two Danish ports. The police officers responding to the grounding assessed that the captain was under the influence of alcohol and brought him ashore for further testing.

The North Zealand Police responded to reports that a cargo ship had grounded in the Roskilde Fjord shortly after departing the steel mill in Frederiksvaerk in eastern Denmark. The 210-foot-long Leila had loaded a cargo of 1,150 tons of steel and was heading across the Danish Straits to the western port of Fredericia. However, just outside the harbor shortly before midnight on May 24, the 1,260 dwt vessel went aground.

The Naval Home Guard was summoned to assist the local police and launched one of their inflatable rafts to transport the police out to the grounded vessel. Initially, they were looking for the cause of the accident and to access for any potential damage or pollution.

“We arrived with the rubber boat at Frederiksvaerk around 23.30, where we picked up the two officers from North Zealand Police and sailed them out to the cargo ship,” explained Mikael Olsen, deputy commander of the Home Guard. According to Olsen, it was “a little more windy out there than we expected,” with winds of about 15 mph but overall weather conditions were good and it was clear.

He said that about 45 minutes later the police returned to the launch with the captain. They had the captain with them when they returned. The unidentified captain was transported to shore to undergo blood tests after being arrested.

They reported that the vessel was operating with a draft of over 12 feet at the time of the grounding although it had entered an area with a depth of approximately 7 feet. They determined that the captain had failed to correctly follow the fairway while transiting the Roskilde Fjord.

The Home Guard returned to the site and circled the vessel looking for signs of damage or an oil leak. They were also assisted by a rescue helicopter from the Armed Forces which also surveys the area for any signs of pollution.

The cargo ship was later refloated and moved back to the dock at the steel mill, where it remains. As of the last report, the captain remained in detention on charges of operating his vessel while under the influence of alcohol.