Belfast Telegraph

Collision captain 'could face jail'

The captain of a cargo ship involved in a collision with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough could face two years in jail, a court has heard.

Miroslaw Pozniak, 55, has also been sacked by the shipping company he worked for, Newtownards Magistrates' Court heard.

Prosecutors said they had decided to take the case against the Polish national to a crown court.

He has already indicated he will plead guilty to being over the alcohol limit when his vessel collided with the ferry last Wednesday.

During a brief hearing, a lawyer for the Public Prosecution Service told District Judge Mark Hamill the maximum penalty for the offence that could be handed down in a crown court is two years imprisonment.

Pozniak, who was again refused bail, was captaining the Union Moon which collided with a Stena Line ferry travelling from Birkenhead to Belfast.

The incident happened at 7.45pm on Wednesday and the ferry passengers said they feared disaster when they were initially warned they may have to abandon ship.

Both vessels suffered damage in the collision at the entrance to Belfast Lough, about a mile and a half from shore. No-one was injured and the ferry was able to complete its journey safely.

There were 51 passengers and 47 crew on board the ferry and all safely disembarked at Belfast.

An interpreter translated the proceedings to Pozniak, who was remanded in custody last Friday, as he stood in the dock handcuffed to a prison officer. Dressed in a white T-shirt and jeans, the unshaven Pole did not speak during the hearing.

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