The captain of the chemical/oil product tanker MV Quercianella has pleaded guilty to being drunk while in charge of the vessel carrying 11,000 tonnes of petroleum.

The 53-year-old Italian, Sandro Carnemolla after a check on 6 July was found with double of the legal limit of alcohol as the ship was leaving Eastham docks in Merseyside.

Italian ship captain pleads guilty to being drunk

At the Liverpool Crown Court, the ship’s master was fined £1,000 and was given a suspended sentence of four months in jail.

According to the prosecutor Rob Jones, Mr Carnemolla believed an onboard pilot had used his mobile phone on the bridge, which is not allowed. From the other side, the pilot thought the captain, from Port Sala (Sicily), was drunk and called the police, who then breathalysed and arrested Carnemolla.

The Liverpool Court heard the captain had an "exemplary record" but had been drinking after a hard and stressful day.

As stated by Anthony Berry QC, Carnemolla’s defence lawyer, despite the fact that there were two first officers on the bridge who could have manoeuvred the vessel, the captain was found guilty because he was officially in charge at that moment.

It was also mentioned by the defence that the captain had his last drink more than two hours before the incident, which happened at the Queen Elizabeth II locks in Wirral.