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The VICE Guide to Right Now

Rum-Drunk Sailor Crashes Huge Ship into West Coast of Scotland

A drunken seaman crashed a 432ft cargo ship into the Scottish coast after falling asleep at on duty.

by Joe Goodman
23 November 2015, 12:05pm

From the column The VICE Guide to Right Now

Photo of another shipwreck by Richard Bartz via

"What shall we do with the drunken sailor?" asks the age-old sea shanty. According to various versions the resolution is putting him in a longboat until he's sober, shaving his belly with a rusty razor or - if you're into more esoteric nomenclature - "put him in the scuppers with the horse-pipe on him", whatever that means.

Of course, being a sea shanty, none of these answers bear any resemblance to real life and the correct answer is in fact d) fire him on the spot. It's a lesson I imagine you learn all too quickly once you've crashed a 432ft cargo ship into a rocky foreshore in Scotland with half a litre of rum in your blood.

According to the Independent, in February this year, a Lysblink Seaways vessel was on its way from Belfast to Skogn in Norway carrying a cargo of paper when the sole officer on watch managed to run the ship into the foreshore at full speed. The ship was damaged so badly it had to be taken to the scrap heap, but not until it had lain grounded in the sea for two days, spilling an approximate 25 tonnes of oil into the surrounding water.

The 36-year-old skipper had consumed over eight times the alcohol limit before falling asleep on duty and failing to correct the ship's course. A spokesman for DFDS said: "What happened on the ship was completely irresponsible. We have a very clear and very clearly communicated zero-tolerance alcohol policy which cannot be misunderstood."

According to the incident report, "Records showed that the bonded store was regularly replenished, and empty beer, wine and spirit bottles and cartons found on board after the accident indicated significant levels of alcohol consumption by the crew."

As for the officer, it appears he was thrown overboard, figuratively speaking at least. A statement from the DFDS read: "The officer is no longer employed by DFDS. We hope this will not cast a shadow over our other officers who rightfully enjoy a very good reputation."

@joegoodman94