Man steered boat while drunk, crashed into coast guard vessel

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
A Police Coast Guard vessel. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — A fish farm owner who had too many drinks crashed his boat into a Police Coast Guard (PCG) patrol vessel near Pulau Ubin last year, a court heard on Thursday (19 March).

The culprit, Tan Choon Teck, 56, had some scratches and bruises on both knees. No other person was injured in the incident.

At the State Courts on Thursday, the Singaporean was fined $3,000 after he pleaded guilty to one charge of navigating a vessel in a rash manner endangering human life.

Drinking session on Pulau Ubin

Tan owns a fish farm north of Pulau Ubin and uses a boat to travel between his farm and the mainland.

At about 5pm on 23 September last year, Tan had a drinking session with two friends at Pulau Ubin, which lies northeast of the mainland. He ordered a bottle of cognac.

“At around 6pm, when the drinking session ended, the accused brought the bottle back to his boat. He then steered his boat back to his fish farm,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Edwin Soh.

“At around 10pm, while still intoxicated, the accused steered his boat from his fish farm to Punggol Marina Country Club,” the prosecutor added.

While on the way, Tan lost control of his boat at about 10.30pm and crashed it into the police coast guard vessel which was stationary. At the time, the weather was fine.

After the crash, a PCG sergeant went to check on Tan and found him reeking of alcohol with bloodshot eyes. A half-filled bottle of liquor was found on the boat and Tan failed two breathalyser tests.

“The accused knew that by steering his boat while intoxicated, he would run the risk of losing control of his boat resulting in a collision, thereby endangering the human life of himself or others at sea,” said DPP Soh.

“Knowing this risk, the accused nevertheless continued to steer his boat while intoxicated, resulting in the collision between his boat and PCG patrol craft,” the prosecutor added.

The repair cost for the police vessel came up to $8,952.70. Tan has made full restitution.

The maximum penalty for navigating a vessel in a rash manner endangering human life is up to a year in jail along with a fine.

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