Belfast Telegraph

Drunk sea captain who nearly crashed ship into Belfast harbour fined £500

Belfast Harbour
Belfast Harbour

By Alan Erwin

A sea captain found drunk in charge of his ship as it came in to dock in Belfast has been fined £500.

Oleg Okolobvich was arrested after a colleague said he had to intervene to stop the cargo vessel crashing at the city's harbour on Tuesday.

Okolobvich, a 58-year-old Russian national, admitted having excess alcohol while on duty as professional master of a ship.

He told Belfast Magistrates' Court today: "I'm very sorry about what happened."

Harbour Police were called to the port area amid concerns about his state while overseeing the Danica Hav's approach.

A pilot on board said he had to navigate the ship from one berth to another.

"He reported strange behaviour from the captain and had to intervene twice to prevent a collision with the quay," a constable said.

The court heard police officers who checked on Okolobvich's welfare made "alcohol related observations".

He was then arrested and failed a breath test.

With the vessel scheduled to leave Belfast Harbour later today, a relief captain has been flown in to take charge of the departure.

Speaking through an interpreter, Okolobvich said he wanted the case dealt with so he can leave too.

He told District Judge Peter Magill that he has money on board to pay any financial penalty.

On that basis Mr Magill imposed a £500 - roughly the equivalent of one week's wages for the defendant.

"That is the sentence, and he's free to go," the judge confirmed.

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