July 31, 2006

Sailor pleads guilty to operating cruise ship drunk

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A cruise ship captain pleaded guilty on
Monday to operating a Celebrity Cruise Line vessel -- carrying
1,884 passengers -- while under the influence of alcohol.

The U.S. Coast Guard arrested Periklis Petridis, a Greek
citizen in command of the Mercury cruise liner, on May 19,
hours before the ship was scheduled to depart from a Seattle
pier for Alaska.

During a routine Coast Guard check, officials discovered
the captain had been drinking. Tests found Petridis, 47, with a
blood alcohol level as high as 0.181, more than four times the
federal maritime limit for operating a ship.

As part of a plea agreement, Petridis received one year's
probation, a $15,000 fine and a one-year ban from entering U.S.
waters as an employee of any commercial vessel.

Celebrity Cruise's parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises
Ltd., relieved Petridis of command and dismissed him after his
arrest in May.