The captain of a fishing trawler, who left passers-by gobsmacked when he crashed it into a pier, had been drinking on an empty stomach after a bout of food poisoning.
Michael Kinnaird, 59, stunned locals when the vessel went crashing into the railings of Mount Batten Pier in Plymouth.
He had alcohol in his system when breathalysed two hours after the crash – but was not over the legal limit, Plymouth Magistrates Court heard.
Michael Kinnaird, 59, stunned locals when the vessel (pictured) went crashing into the railings of Mount Batten Pier in Plymouth on October 7
Kinnaird, of Newlyn, Cornwall, told magistrates he had suffered food poisoning beforehand, but was quizzed on the fact he had been drinking beer.
They told him at the hearing: ‘You made a grave mistake, but the risk of harm is the reason why the case is going to crown court, together with the fact that some alcohol had been consumed.
‘You say you suffered from food poisoning, but you had some beer.’
He admitted failing to prevent his 121-tonne ship, Algrie, from causing serious damage to the pier and was bailed for sentencing at Plymouth Crown Court on December 13.
Kinnaird, of Newlyn, Cornwall, told magistrates he had suffered food poisoning beforehand, but was quizzed on the fact he had been drinking beer
He admitted failing to prevent his ship, Algrie, (pictured) from causing serious damage to the pier and was bailed for sentencing at Plymouth Crown Court on December 13
The coastguard and ambulance service rushed to the pier at 9.45pm on October 7 after reports came flooding in of a ship stranded on the rocks at the pier.
Onlookers could not believe their eyes, posting pictures and video online, with one even streaming it live on Facebook.
Kinnaird has been a skipper for 28 years, with the past 15 and a half spent at sea, the court heard.
Tristan Harwood, defending, told the court the ‘tide was fully up’, which meant the dramatic pictures of the crash were ‘misleading’.
His defence lawyer claimed the ‘tide was fully up’ at the time of the incident, which made the dramatic photos ‘misleading’
Passers-by were stunned, taking pictures and videos and even streaming it live on Facebook
He said: ‘As the tide went out these images make the incident look considerably worse, he didn’t really hit the breakwater, he bumped it.’
The court heard that Kinnaird had missed the navigational light near the pier before crashing into it and becoming stranded.
The coastguard insisted the boat had not hit the pier, but just crashed into the rocks blow.
David Richards, of the Maritime Coastguard Agency added: ‘[Kinnaird’s] Alcohol was 19 at just shy of half past 11 at night, I would struggle to open the alcohol as an aggravating feature. There was no back calculation.’
The crew on-board were reported to be safe and unharmed.
It was not the first time the Algrie has got in trouble – it dangerously dragged a nuclear attack submarine called HMS Spartan in the waters off Land’s End in 1982, reports Cornwall Live.
It caught the sub for a few minutes and ended up costing £8,000.
The coastguard (pictured) and ambulance service rushed to the pier at 9.45pm on October 7 after reports came flooding in of a ship stranded on the rocks at the pier
One male onlooker posted a video on Facebook, shocked at what he had seen.
He told followers: ‘Yeah so I’m a few rums down, but what happened was, we were walking down the pier.
‘All of a sudden a trawler went straight into the pier. What are you doing?
‘You didn’t exactly just clip the end did you? You’ve driven straight into the side of the pier.
‘What are you up to, there’s no fish here mate, you’re off your head.
‘What have you gone and done that for, you’ve made a right meal out of that. It’s pure stuck.’