Michael Kinnaird, captain of the 69-foot (21m) fishing trawler F/V Algrie, was handed a suspended prison sentence and fined 5,000 British pounds in Plymouth Crown Court in December for running his vessel aground in October on the Mount Batten breakwater in Plymouth, England, according to British news reports.
A fisherman with more than 40 years experience – 28 as a skipper – Capt. Kinnaird pleaded guilty in court to offenses under Britain’s Merchant Shipping Act, according to news reports. After the accident, the 59-year-old from Newlyn, Cornwall, told MCA enforcement officers that he had navigated the harbor hundreds of times, but on this occasion became confused when he saw lights from anglers who were fishing from the breakwater.
The vessel sustained minor damage, none of the five crew on board were injured and there was no reported pollution as a result of the crash. A line was attached to the Algrie and the coast guard kept watch overnight until the vessel floated free on the rising tide.
The court heard that Capt. Kinnaird had drunk three pints of beer on an empty stomach before taking the helm that night. He was found to have alcohol in his system when he was breathalyzed almost two hours after the crash – however, he was not over the legal limit, according to The Plymouth Herald. Nevertheless, the judge said he had no doubt that Capt. Kinnaird’s actions were affected by alcohol and sentenced him to four months in prison, suspended for two years.