Drunk Ship Captain Arrested in New Zealand

The 200-meter MV Shansi is flagged in Singapore. Photo: MarineTraffic.com / Dexter

A New Zealand court has sentenced a British ship captain to pay a $3,000 fine after authorities found him to be more than five-times the legal alcohol limit when his ship arrived at Northport, NZ on Friday.

Anthony Michael Baker, the captain of the multi-purpose cargo ship Shansi, was arrested after harbor pilots boarded the vessel upon its arrival in Whangarei Harbour on Friday morning and reported to authorities that the master smelled like alcohol.

An officer with Maritime New Zealand along with police officers boarded the vessel to conduct a breathalyzer test, during which Baker blew an ‘exceptionally high’ 1,345 micrograms – more than five times the legal limit of 250 micrograms – and placed Baker under arrest.

The Whangarei District Court on Monday fined Baker $3,000 for exceeding the alcohol limit for a seafarer.

Maritime NZ’s Northern Regional Manager, Neil Rowarth, said the alcohol conviction is a strong warning and reminder to seafarers that “safety is paramount”, and that if you are over the alcohol limit you will be prosecuted.

“The master is legally responsible for their ship and all on board, and must be able to carry out their duties safely,” 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.”

Anthony Michael Baker, who is 53, is from Devon in the United Kingdom.