PORTLAND -- The captain of a 602-foot ship has pleaded guilty to operating the commercial vessel Adfines East under the influence of alcohol.

Valeriy Sharykin entered the plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. The Adfines East operates under the Maltese flag.

Judge John V. Acosta sentenced the 62-year-old Russian citizen to two years of probation, a time in which he is barred from sailing U.S. waters.

Sharykin also agreed to pay a $1,000 fine to the court and another $1,000 to an alcohol treatment facility.

Coast Guard inspectors detected alcohol on the captain's breath during an examination of the freighter. They boarded the vessel as part of a program to keep sub-standard vessels from operating in U.S. waters.

U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said Sharykin's blood-alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit.

Operating a 24,000 ton, 602 foot ship with a blood alcohol level more than four times above the limit is beyond reckless, it s potentially deadly, she said.

The vessel dragged anchor and drifted briefly before running aground in sand while Sharykin was at the helm. The ship was freed after about two hours and the hull was inspected, but no damage was found, investigators said.

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