The cargo ship BBC Lagos was en route from Lithuania to Las Palmas when it ran aground near Helsingborg. By that point the Swedish coast guard and other boats in the area had already been trying to attract the attention of the crew by honking their horns and signalling at the ship to stop.
Their efforts did not help. The 53-year-old captain later admitted he had fallen asleep.
“I woke up when the ship was on the dunes,” newspaper Sydsvenskan quoted him as telling police.
When the coast guard boarded the ship the man is said to have been acting inebriated and tried to hide a bottle of whisky.
He told police he had only consumed around 25-30 centilitres of whisky five hours before the incident, but tests showed he had a blood alcohol content level of 0.276 percent (or 2.76 per mille, which is the unit used in Sweden).
The legal limit in Sweden for operating a vehicle at sea is 0.02 percent.