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Cargo Ship Crew Notifies Coast Guard That Captain Appeared Drunk

April 2, 1989

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a 728-foot cargo ship Saturday after the crew told the agency the captain appeared drunk and was piloting the ship erratically, officials said.

A Coast Guard patrol boat intercepted the Japan-bound ″Century Hope″ near the Channel Islands about 100 miles off the coast of California. The captain, who was not identified, submitted to a blood alcohol test and turned over command to the first mate, said Petty Officer Brad Smith.

Results of the test were not available late Saturday.

″The vessel is anchored in Long Beach Harbor and has been detained by the Captain of the Port until the situation is resolved,″ Lt. Donald Bruzdzinski said. Another captain was flying from London to take command.

The Century Hope, registered in Hong Kong and flying the British flag, was carrying soy beans to Yokohama, Japan, Bruzdzinski said.

The incident closely followed allegations that the captain piloting the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was drunk when the tanker rammed into Alaska’s Bligh Reef on March 24th, creating the nation’s worst oil spill.

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