Crash captain admits drink charge
The captain of a cargo ship involved in a collision with a passenger ferry in Belfast Lough has pleaded guilty to being over the alcohol limit.
Miroslaw Pozniak, 55, with an address in Poland, spoke through an interpreter at a magistrates' court in Bangor, Co Down. He was captaining the Union Moon which collided with a Stena Line ferry travelling from Birkenhead to Belfast on Wednesday.
Pozniak's solicitor told the court: "It will be a guilty plea in respect of the matter."
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.
However no-one was injured and the ferry was able to safely complete its journey.
There were 51 passengers and 47 crew on board the ferry and all safely disembarked at Belfast.
Pozniak appeared in the dock wearing a white shirt, dark jumper and jeans and spoke only to confirm that he understood the charge. The court heard that his record as a captain was clear and that he had fully co-operated with the police during questioning.
His lawyer requested that he be granted bail and suggested his damaged vessel as an address. But a police constable objected and told district judge Mark Hamill: "We would not see the ship as a suitable address."
The court heard that the vessel is to be impounded in dry dock to be repaired.
The judge sought a decision from the prosecution on whether the case will be handled by the magistrates' Court or a higher court. He remanded the defendant in custody to appear again at Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Monday.