BUSAN, Mar. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — The recent crash of a Russian cargo ship into Busan’s Gwangan Bridge has legislators in Busan City calling for stricter penal measures for ‘sailing under the influence.’
Busan Nam District’s Rep. Park Jae-ho, a member of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), has proposed a new bill that amends relevant maritime safety laws to set legal grounds and standards on the administrative actions to be taken against those who have sailed under the influence.
Currently, the Maritime Safety Law can punish seafarers found with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of more than 0.03 percent with fines of up to 5 million won (US$4,420) or 3 years in jail.
If amended, the law will punish those with a BAC between 0.03 percent and 0.08 percent by up to 30 million won in fines or 3 years of imprisonment, and those with a BAC over 0.08 percent by up to 50 million won in fines or 5 years in jail.
If caught more than twice for sailing under the influence with a BAC over 0.03 percent, the offender will be punished by up to 70 million won in fines or 7 years in prison.
Anyone who refuses a breathalyzer test can be punished by up to 50 million won in fines or 5 years of imprisonment, regardless of blood alcohol level.
The proposed amendments make no exceptions for foreign vessels when it comes to carrying out criminal punishment for sailing under the influence.
In another proposal to amend the Ships Officers Act, sailing under the influence with a BAC between 0.03 percent and 0.08 percent can be punished by 6 months of suspension.
Exceeding a BAC of 0.08 percent or refusing a breathalyzer test can be punished by 12 months of suspension. Being caught for more than two consecutive offenses can lead to a revocation of one’s sailing license.
Rep. Yoon Jun-ho, a member of the DP and the National Assembly committee on agricultural, livestock, and fishery products, also submitted a proposal for amendments to the Maritime Safety Law, calling for up to 5 years in prison for those with a BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.2 percent, and up to 10 years in prison for those with a BAC exceeding 0.2 percent.
Being caught more than twice for being under influence with a BAC between 0.03 percent and 0.08 percent can result in one’s sailing license being revoked.
In case of a BAC higher than 0.08 percent, the offender will be stripped off his or her license immediately.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)