The captain of an MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co boxship has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting being over the alcohol limit on his vessel.

Zbigniew Chowaniec, 65, from Poland, admitted the offence when police boarded the 4,882-teu MSC Roshney V (built 2007) on 15 January in Felixstowe, eastern England.

He was found to be nearly four times over the alcohol limit.

Chowaniec was given an eight-week jail term suspended for 12 months and fined £494 ($620).

The captain told Ipswich Crown Court he was “truly sorry”. His career as a master is over after MSC terminated his contract.

The court heard that the captain smelled strongly of alcohol when police boarded.

Judge David Wilson said he was a “man of previous good character” and he “does not present a risk or danger to the public”, the BBC reported.

He added that if Chowaniec were to commit another offence, he could be jailed.

The vessel had arrived from the port of Antwerp-Bruges in Belgium.

MSC’s zero-tolerance policy

An alcohol test produced a reading of 93 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit for seafarers, which is set by the Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping Convention, is 25 micrograms.

MSC told TradeWinds last month it has a strict zero-tolerance policy with regards to alcohol on duty.

A spokesperson said: “We take such incidents extremely seriously.”