Published Tuesday, 24 April 2012
The damaged Stena Feronia passenger ferry. (© UTV)
Miroslaw Pozniak's Union Moon vessel collided with a Stena passenger ferry at the Fairway buoy off the Co Down coast on 7 March.
The 55-year-old captain, who is being prosecuted by two separate agencies - the Public Prosecution Service and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency - appeared at Downpatrick Crown Court on Tuesday.
The Polish national, who gave an address at Glenville Road in Newtownabbey, pleaded guilty to four charges.
They included consuming excess alcohol while behind the wheel of a ship, failing to safely navigate a vessel, and causing damage to the Union Moon and also the Stena Feronia.
Judge David Smyth was told by Shenna Mahaffey for the PPS and Aaron Thompson for the MCA that Pozniak's crimes carry a maximum sentence of two years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
The case is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, the court was told.
The court also heard that the bill for repair work on the Stena ship could reach over $1m.
Damages to the cargo vessel are expected to cost in the region of six figures.
The Stena ferry had left the Merseyside's Birkenhead on a morning sailing and was on the final stretch to Belfast when the collision took place.
Fifty-one passengers and 47 crew escaped unhurt.
Mr Pozniak was released on continuing bail to re-appear at Downpatrick Crown Court on 31 May.