Samsung Hanjin cargo ship
(File picture) The ship was attempting to berth when officials noticed the issues Reuters

A British captain has been fined and suspended after he was found to be five times overt the legal alcohol limit while he was berthing a cargo ship in New Zealand.

Anthony Michael Baker was attempting to dock the 40,000-tonne cargo ship in Marsden Point on 4 August.

As he tried to brign the ship into port, harbour officials noticed that he was having difficulties, which lead them to alcohol testing him.

He was then arrested and appeared before Whangarei District Court and plead guilty to breaching maritime law.

He was handed a fine of NZ$3,000 and was also suspended by his employers, which according to his lawyer would make it "difficult for him to find work in a similar profession in future".

The regional manager for the maritime authority of New Zealand, Neil Rowarth, said: "The master is legally responsible for their ship and all on board, and must be able to carry out their duties safely,.

"A shipping accident can have tragic and widespread consequences. It endangers the crew, seafarers on other ships, and the environment.

"Alcohol impairs judgement and increases the risk of accidents. Where we find seafarers over the limit, we will take action."

Baker, 53, from Devon, was not on duty when the ship was attempting to berth, but he was called to help when there were issues getting the engine going and raising the anchor.

When tested, Baker had 1,345 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, well above the New Zealand limit of 250.