Russian Captain Fined in U.S. for BAC Four Times the Legal Limit

The Russian ship captain of a Maltese-flagged freighter has been sentenced in Oregon to pay a $1,000 fine for operating his ship with a BAC that was over four times the legal limit.

On Tuesday, Valeriy Sharykin, 62, from Russia, plead guilty to operating a commercial vessel under the influence of alcohol, a class A misdemeanor, while in the Port of Portland.

According to court documents, Sharykin was the licensed Vessel Master on the Adfines East, a 602-foot commercial vessel, weighing over 24,000 gross tons and sailing under the flag of Malta. While conducting a routine inspection of the vessel on April 8, 2013, Coast Guard Port State Control examiners from Marine Safety Unit Portland suspected Sharykin was intoxicated based on observations of his behavior and smell. Authorities later confirmed their suspicions by subjecting Sharykin to a breathalyzer test, which determined he indeed had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) that was over four times the legal limit.

“Operating a 24,000 ton, 602 foot ship with a blood alcohol level more than four times above the limit is beyond reckless, it’s potentially deadly,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “The safety of people, property, and the environment on the Columbia River and all US waterways is a top priority for this office. Those who endanger safety in commercial shipping and maritime will be found and prosecuted. I want to thank the Coast Guard for their prompt and professional investigation of this matter bringing this defendant to justice.”

Sharykin was sentenced to two years of probation, including a condition that the defendant is prohibited from sailing in U.S. water, and also agreed to pay a $1,000 fine to the court and $1,000 to a community alcohol treatment facility.

“The Columbia River is a vital transportation mode, source of economic prosperity for the entire Pacific Northwest and an environmental treasure which the Coast Guard is committed to protecting,”said Capt. Bruce Jones, Sector Columbia River Commander. “We will remain vigilant in ensuring those who operate vessels in our waters do so responsibly and in compliance with safety, security and environmental laws. I commend our young but very competent and dedicated Petty Officers for their diligence and thoroughness in the examination of the Adfines East which led to today’s arrest.”