Court charges skipper with ‘drunkenness at sea’

Court charges skipper with 'drunkenness at sea'
The captain of a Dutch ship which ran aground off the west coast port of Helsingborg this month was on charged with "aggravated drunkenness at sea" by a Swedish court on Thursday.

Andrey Sharafonenko, a 44-year-old Ukrainian, was arrested on August 13th, shortly after he ran aground the 85-metre (278-feet) Flinterforest in the Öresund strait that separates Denmark and Sweden.

Court documents said Sharafonenko was at least twice over the legal limit for navigating, which is 0.1 milligrams of alcohol per litre of breath.

Police had at the time said his alcohol level, as measured by a breath test, was four times over the limit.

The court said it charged the captain with “aggravated” drunkenness after considering he was working in conditions that demanded his full attention, that the Oeresund is a tight passage with heavy traffic, and that the way he commanded the ship “posed a significant risk to safety at sea.”

The 85-meter (278 feet) Flinterforest, a Dutch vessel, ran aground early on Friday a few kilometres north of the southwestern port of Helsingborg, on her way from Finland to Scotland with a cargo of paper rolls.

The Swedish coast guard, which was alerted at 5:30 am, said none of the five other crew members were hurt and that no fuel had been spilled.

Built in 2004, the Flinterforest cargo vessel belongs to a Dutch shipping company by the same name and is managed by two other companies: Flinter Management and Forestwave Navigation.

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