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Captain pleads guilty to operating bulk carrier while intoxicated

Dec 27, 2019 10:25 AM

A San Francisco bar pilot reported the mariner's condition to the Coast Guard

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Justice Department:

(SAN FRANCISCO) — Vadim Humenyuk pleaded guilty to operating a commercial cargo ship while intoxicated, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Marie Byrd. The plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixon.  

In pleading guilty, Humenyuk, 51, of Izmail, Ukraine, admitted that he was intoxicated while serving as the master of Rainbow Quest, a Gibraltar-flagged bulk carrier. The 590-foot-long Rainbow Quest was in San Francisco Bay and preparing to sail to South Korea when Humenyuk was found to be intoxicated.

“I appreciate the outstanding collaboration from the San Francisco Bar Pilots, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for ensuring safety on our waters, and protecting the maritime public, property, and environment,” said Byrd. “The Coast Guard and our partners will not tolerate operating a vessel under the influence from any mariner, much less a commercial ship captain preparing to get a large cargo ship underway in San Francisco Bay.”

The investigation began on Tuesday, Dec. 10, when a San Francisco bar pilot contacted Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Vessel Traffic Service personnel reporting that the captain of Rainbow Quest appeared to be intoxicated. Investigators of the U.S. Coast Guard administered sobriety tests to Humenyuk late on the evening of Dec. 10 and the early morning of Dec. 11. After Humenyuk failed the sobriety tests, he was charged with operating a non-recreational vessel under the influence of alcohol, in violation of 46 USC 2302(c), a Class A misdemeanor.  

Humenyuk faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to one year of incarceration, an additional year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $100,000. Hixson scheduled Humenyuk’s sentencing hearing for Jan. 3.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Alexandra Shepard. This case is being investigated by the United States Coast Guard. 

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