Captain of a Maltese Freighter Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Operating a Vessel Under the Influence
PORTLAND, Ore. - The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon, announces that the Vessel Master of the Adfines East plead guilty to operating a commercial vessel under the influence of alcohol in the Port of Portland. Today, Valeriy Sharykin, 62, a Russian citizen, and captain of a Maltese freighter plead guilty before U.S. Magistrate John V. Acosta.
Defendant Sharykin was charged by information with negligent operation of a commercial vessel, a class A misdemeanor. Sharykin was the licensed Vessel Master on the Adfines East, a 602 foot commercial vessel, weighing over 24,000 gross tons and sailing under the flag of Malta. While conducting an official inspection of the vessel on April 8, 2013, Coast Guard Port State Control examiners from Marine Safety Unit Portland suspected that defendant, the Master of the vessel, was intoxicated based on their observations of his behavior and smell. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel from Station Portland and Coast Guard Investigative Service responded, used a breathalyzer and took the vessel Master into custody with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) that was over four times the legal limit.
In effort to eliminate sub-standard ships from U.S. waters, U.S. Coast Guard Port State control examiners board foreign vessels entering U.S. waters on a daily basis. Substandard vessels are those in which the crew, hull, machinery, or equipment such as life-saving, firefighting, or pollution prevention are substantially below the standards required by U.S. law or international convention. It's the U.S. Coast Guard's responsibility to remain vigilant and deter non-compliant vessels from operating in U.S. Waters.
U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall, said, “Operating a 24,000 ton, 602 foot ship with a blood alcohol level more than four times above the limit is beyond reckless, it’s potentially deadly. The safety of people, property, and the environment on the Columbia River and all US waterways is a top priority for this office. Those who endanger safety in commercial shipping and maritime will be found and prosecuted. I want to thank the Coast Guard for their prompt and professional investigation of this matter bringing this defendant to justice.”
"The Columbia River is a vital transportation mode, source of economic prosperity for the entire Pacific Northwest and an environmental treasure which the Coast Guard is committed to protecting,"said Capt. Bruce Jones, Sector Columbia River Commander. "We will remain vigilant in ensuring those who operate vessels in our waters do so responsibly and in compliance with safety, security and environmental laws. I commend our young but very competent and dedicated Petty Officers for their diligence and thoroughness in the examination of the Adfines East which led to today's arrest."
Defendant was sentenced to two (2) years of probation, including a condition that the defendant is prohibited from sailing, in any capacity, waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Defendant also agreed to pay a $1,000 fine to the court and $1,000 to a community alcohol treatment facility.
This investigation was conducted by the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, Coast Guard District 13. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Holman Kerin.