Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Drunk tug skipper sent to jail. From BBC News Scotland 2006

Peter Leask was told jail was the only option. The skipper of a Coastguard tug which ran aground off Shetland while he was drunk has been jailed for eight months. Peter Leask, 42, admitted he was more than three times the legal alcohol limit while in charge of the vessel. Leask also admitted two other charges, including spilling 84 tonnes of diesel oil into the sea after hitting rocks.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard the repair and clean up operation costs were more than £3m. Sheriff Graham Napier said custody was the only option.

The Anglian Sovereign ran aground on 3 September last year. The entire crew were winched to safety by the coastguard helicopter, leaving Leask at the bridge. Listing heavily, the tug limped into Scalloway Harbour under his command.

An emergency clean-up operation sprang into action with the bulk of the leaking oil cleaned up, and the rest dispersed naturally. However wildlife in the area suffered from the spill and the vessel was so badly damaged a section had to be rebuilt. Tonnes of diesel fuel was spilled when the tug ran aground.

Leask also admitted two other charges of causing pollution and refloating the ship after the collision before assessing the damage. Sheriff Napier told Leask on Wednesday that his actions were reckless in the extreme and he had no option but to impose a custodial sentence.

Captain Allan Marsh, an enforcement officer with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), said: “This was an extremely serious offence. “We have to reinforce the message to the maritime industry that drinking and driving is not acceptable.” The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said Leask was the first person to receive a custodial sentence for pollution in Scotland.

Sentence on Leask had previously been deferred for social inquiry reports. Members of his family wept outside the court room as Leask was led away to begin his sentence.

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