Northern Ireland news

Sea captain fined for being drunk in Belfast Port

The sea captain was fined £1,000 after being found drunk in charge of a ship at Belfast Port 

A sea captain found drunk in charge of his ship at Belfast Port on Boxing Day has been fined £1,000.

Patryk Tetzlaff (38) was four times over the limit while in charge of a vessel carrying out refuelling duties at other ships.

He is now expected to be repatriated to his native Poland, where he may face further sanctions from his professional body.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Harbour Police were called in amid concerns over Tetzlaff's state.

His boat had been refuelling a ferry docked at the port.

During a breath test he admitted having taken half a bottle of vodka, prosecutors said.

Tetzlaff, of no fixed address, admitted a charge of having excess alcohol while on duty as professional master of a ship.

A defence solicitor argued that the captain was not drinking during manoeuvres.

Tetzlaff qualified as a captain four years ago and earns around £4,000 a month, the court heard.

But with his boat having since sailed on to Liverpool, he will instead return directly to Poland.

"There are repercussions with his employment, the regulatory body can take action with regard to his licence," the lawyer added.

Imposing the £1,000 fine, District Judge Nigel Broderick pointed out that no other form of penalty is available under the legislation.

He warned the seaman: "If the fine is not paid you will serve 28 days in custody." 

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