No maritime lawyer would dispute that safety of passengers and crewmembers are at a high risk when vessels crews, especially pilots and masters, are operating under the influence of alcohol. Last month, the Coast Guard was forced to order a cargo ship to remain in Washington Port, after an inspection found that the captain was under the influence of alcohol. The Coast Guard boarded the vessel in the Strait of Juan De Fuca. It was a routine boarding, but an inspection quickly found that the vessel's master showed signs of being under the influence. The Coast Guard then ordered that the vessels, the STX Daisy, a Panamanian-flagged vessel remain in Port Angeles in Washington. The tanker had been on its way from Olympia, Washington to Qingdao in China. The US Atty.'s office is also investigating the incident. For maritime attorneys, the catastrophic maritime accident involving the Cosco Busan, is still fresh in memory. The pilot of that ship, it was later found, had been steering the ship under the influence of prescription medication. Driving under the influence can be serious enough when you're at the wheel of a passenger vehicle or truck. The risks increase dramatically when you replace motorists and drivers, with ship pilots and masters. The risk of a maritime accident or collision increases substantially when you have a master who's not functioning to the best of his capabilities.
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