MCA: Master Sent to Jail After Drinking Session

16 October 2009: Captain Mikhail Antonov, 47, appeared at Grimsby Crown Court today charged with an offence under the Railways & Transport Safety Act 2003.

Captain Antonov appearing before Recorder R S Singh was sentenced to two months custodial sentence.

Captain Antonov was master of the Trans Agila (Antigua & Barbuda registered) a general cargo vessel which on the 12th September 2009 was berthed in Immingham Docks and which was due to sail in the late evening.

At 8.30pm, the Immingham port pilot boarded the vessel and found no-one onboard apart from two passengers watching television in a downstairs cabin.

He found the ship open with its generators running. The pilot made his way to the bridge and waited. After making a phone call to the nearby Seamans Mission, he located the ship’s Captain and crew.

At 9.45pm, the Master came to the bridge and it was clear to the pilot that the Master and crew were in no fit state to move the vessel.

The pilot called Humberside Police who attended and breathalysed and arrested Captain Antonov. At Grimsby Police Station, the Captain was found to be over twice the legal limit and was charged under the Railways & Transport Safety Act 2003.

He appeared at Magistrates Court the next morning and pleaded guilty. Due to the seriousness of the offence, the Court remanded Captain Antonov in custody until his appearance at court today.

Recorder R S Singh gave Mr. Antonov credit for pleading guilty at an earlier Magistrates hearing. He said Mr. Antonov’s actions were a very serious dereliction of his duty as a ships Master. He was two and a half times over the legal limit.

In sentencing, the Recorder took into account the 32 days Mr. Antonov had spent in custody without any contact with his wife and family in Russia when he imposed a two month custodial sentence.

Captain Jeremy Smart, Head of Enforcement said: “The Master holds a position of considerable responsibility for the safety of both his ship and all those onboard. To drink to excess with the crew shortly before he was due to take the ship to sea, was particularly reckless.” (MCA Reference – 349-09)