Monday, August 06, 2007
A Polish Captain has been accused of crashing a cargo vessel into a gas platform while drunk. Zbigniew Karkowski, 56, was arrested after the Jork struck the unmanned Viking Echo platform 40 miles north east of Cromer, Norfolk just before 6pm on Saturday. Police tonight charged Karkowski, from Szczecin, Poland, with being drunk in charge of a sea vessel and said he was being held in custody. He is due to appear at Skegness Magistrates' Court. Six other Polish crew members, who were rescued from the sea, have been found accommodation in Norfolk, police said.
Viking Echo platformThe 2000-tonne vessel, which had been carrying grain from Lubeck in Germany, sunk in deep water. Mario Siano, watch manager at Yarmouth Coastguard, said the vessel became submerged after bursting its hull, caused by the wheat on board "swelling". The coastguard was called after reports the Jork was listing heavily. Coastguards said the Captain had remained on board to try to save the ship, which was destined for the River Humber, before being rescued. Two coastguard boats and a RAF rescue helicopter attended the incident. A spokesman for gas suppliers ConocoPhillips said only "very slight" damage had been caused to its platform.