Columbia River freighter captain removed from ship

Coast Guard says his blood-alcohol level was above legal limit

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ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — The Coast Guard has taken custody of the captain of a 738-foot-long freighter after determining his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit for commercial vessel operators.

Petty Officer Shawn Eggert says the Coast Guard acted Tuesday, before the Maltese freighter Laconia could travel up the Columbia River from Astoria, Ore.

Eggert says Customs and Border Protection agents were inspecting the ship when Coast Guard officers arrived. The Oregonian reports that Customs agents told the Coast Guard they suspected the unidentified captain was intoxicated. Eggert says Customs agents mentioned seeing open alcohol containers in the captain's stateroom.

The Coast Guard says tests showed the captain's blood-alcohol level to be above the commercial vessel operator's limit of .04. Eggert would not say that it was.

Eggert says the captain will be taken to a federal detention center in Portland.

The Coast Guard ordered the freighter to find a replacement captain before leaving Astoria.