Maritime pilots face mandatory alcohol testing following container ship accident at Taiwanese port

A pilot who was found to be drunk on the job after a container ship slammed into a wharf at the Port of Kaohsiung, Monday, March 20, will not be charged by police, but all maritime pilots in Taiwan will face mandatory alcohol breath testing before starting work following the incident.

According to Taiwan’s Chinese language press, Mr Hsu, the pilot in charge of guiding the 74,651-ton vessel Hyundai Tokyo, was found to have an alcohol level of 0.19 mg/l when Harbor Police conducted a breath test after the accident. However, Hsu was not charged for drunk driving as he was not technically in charge of the vessel, but only acting as a consultant to the Captain, police said.

The Kaohsiung Port Pilot Office issued a statement Tuesday apologizing for the incident and announcing that Hsu was suspended from duties pending an investigation, and that all pilots would be breath tested for alcohol prior to performing duties.

The Minister of Transport and Communications, Wang Kwo-tsai, announced today that the Maritime Port Bureau has launched an investigation into the collision at Pier 77, and the results of the investigation will be released within two weeks. Wang said that from today, the Maritime Port Bureau will require all pilots to be tested before boarding ships and that the relevant law will be amended to make it a permanent requirement.

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