The head officer of a commercial cargo ship has pleaded guilty to being intoxicated while preparing to sail a 590-foot long vessel to South Korea from the San Francisco Bay last week.
Vadim Humenyuk, 51, of Izmail, Ukraine, pleaded guilty to being under the influence of alcohol while serving as the Master, or head officer, of the cargo ship, Rainbow Quest, on December 10, according to the Justice Department’s Northern District of California office.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson accepted his plea, though it’s unclear when Humenyuk entered it. It’s also unclear if he is currently in custody.
An official with the San Francisco Bar Pilots — which is responsible for directing vessels in San Francisco and Monterey bays — first alerted Vessel Traffic Service officials with Coast Guard Sector San Francisco that Humenyuk “appeared to be intoxicated” while preparing to depart from San Francisco Bay on December 10, officials said.
Humenyuk failed sobriety tests that U.S. Coast Guard investigators administered in the late evening on December 10 and in the early-morning hours of December 11, officials said.
He was charged with operating a non-recreational vessel under the influence of alcohol, which is a Class A misdemeanor, officials said.
“I appreciate the outstanding collaboration from the San Francisco Bar Pilots, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Attorney’s office for ensuring safety on our waters, and protecting the maritime public, property, and environment,” said Marie Byrd, the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port for San Francisco and Northern California.
“The Coast Guard and our partners will not tolerate operating a vessel under the influence from any mariner, much less a commercial ship captain preparing to get a large cargo ship underway in San Francisco Bay,” she said.
He is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 3.
Humenyuk faces maximum statutory penalty of up to one year of incarceration, another year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $100,000.
The incident is still under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.