Northern Ireland

Ship's captain Patryk Tetzlaff 'four times over limit'

belfast harbour Image copyright PA
Image caption The harbour police were called to Belfast port because of Tetzlaff's state

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.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Harbour Police were called because of Tetzlaff's state.

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

During a breath test, he admitted having drunk 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 about £4,000 a month, the court heard. His boat has sailed to Liverpool without him and he will return directly to Poland.

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

Imposing the £1,000 fine, the judge said that no other form of penalty is available under the legislation.

"If the fine is not paid you will serve 28 days in custody," he warned him.