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MSC ships a the Port of Felixstowe. File Photo: John New /

Port of Felixstowe. File Photo: John New /

MSC Ship Captain Sentenced for Sailing Under the Influence in the UK

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 4053
February 14, 2024

Zbigniew Chowaniec, a 65-year-old Polish national and ship captain, has received a suspended prison sentence and a small fine in the UK after admitting to operating his vessel under the influence of alcohol.

Chowaniec, who was in command of the MSC Roshney V at the time, was found to be over the legal alcohol limit when police boarded his ship in Felixstowe, England on January 15. The ship, measuring nearly 300 meters in length, had been en route to Turkey from the Port of Antwerp-Bruges in Belgium.

Port officers arrested Chowaniec after detecting a strong smell of alcohol. A breathalyzer test later confirmed he had an alcohol level of 93 micrograms per 100ml of breath, significantly exceeding the limit for seafarers of 25 micrograms per 100ml set by the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Convention (STCW Convention).

Chowaniec was handed an eight-week suspended prison sentence and a £494 fine. He apparently has expressed deep remorse for his actions and acknowledged that his days as a ship captain are now behind him.

Despite the serious nature of the offense, the judge commented on Chowaniec’s previously unblemished record, noting that he does not pose a risk to the public. However, he warned that any future offences could result in prison time.

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