RIGA - Drunk crewmembers have been blamed for running a ship aground off Latvia's north-western coast on Jan 21.
Latvia's naval coast guard service head Hermanis Cernovs told LNT television that five of the nine crewmembers of the Malta-registered ship were under the influence, including the captain.
"The weather conditions were good at the time, therefore the main reason of the accident is negligence of the crew," said Cernovs.
The small cargo ship Nijord ran aground at about 11 pm on Jan 21. The ship was carrying no cargo and had a small amount of fuel which did not leak. Nobody was injured in the accident.
Before the accident the crew of the ship had been warned to change course, but did not react to warnings and radio messages.
Currently representatives of the coast guard service, border guard and police are on the ship, A tug-boat has also been sent to the place of the accident to tow the ship away.
Latvian Interior Minister Ivars Godmanis voiced his indignation on the second accident on the sea in the past days. He said in an interview to LNT on Monday morning that "it is dangerous to let these seamen out of the country".
Godmanis underscored that sailing the ship under the influence of alcohol must be criminally punished. In minister's words, if a person had been caught driving a car under such an influence, he would be arrested for 10 days and deprived of the driver's license for two years.