Master fined after failing NZ breathalyzer test, big time

AUGUST 7, 2017 — The Whangarei, New Zealand, District Court has today fined Anthony Michael Baker (53) NZ$3,000 (about US$2,200) for exceeding the alcohol limit for a seafarer.

Mr. Baker is master of the China Navigation Co, multi-purpose cargo carrier, Shansi, and is from Devon in the U.K.. The New Zealand Maritime Transport Act limit is 250 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath, and Mr. Baker blew a test of 1,345 micrograms.

Maritime New Zealand's Northern Regional Manager, Neil Rowarth, said today's conviction of a cargo ship's master was a strong warning and reminder to seafarers: "Safety is paramount, if you are over the alcohol limit you will be prosecuted".

Mr. Rowarth said Maritime NZ works closely with pilots, harbor masters, police, and the maritime industry to ensure New Zealand's waters are safe for all.

According to Maritime New Zealand, on Friday morning (August 4) Senior Pilot, Kirit Barot, and Trainee Pilot, Richard Oliver, boarded Shansi to help her enter Whangarei Harbour and berth at North Port.

They were concerned that the master smelled of alcohol and about his behavior, so contacted the ship's agent, the harbor master, and Maritime NZ.

A Maritime Officer boarded Shansi with a Police officer who could, if required, take an alcohol breath test. Mr Baker blew an exceptionally high alcohol reading, was arrested, placed in police custody, and charged by police.

"The master is legally responsible for their ship and all on board, and must be able to carry out their duties safely," Mr. Rowarth said. "A shipping accident can have tragic and widespread consequences. It endangers the crew, seafarers on other ships, and the environment – it can do serious damage to local economies and communities.

"Alcohol impairs judgment and increases the risk of accidents. Where we find seafarers over the limit, we will take action."

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