Floating platforms on the Danube during the preparation for raising of sunken Hableány tour boat – Photo: wikipedia

Viking Sygin captain sentenced to 5.5 years in prison

A Budapest court has sentenced Yuriy C., the captain of a cruise ship involved in a deadly boat accident on the River Danube in 2019, to 5.5 years in prison.

In the accident on May 29, 2019, the Viking Sigyn cruise ship collided with the Hableany sightseeing boat which had 33 South Korean tourists on board and a crew of two Hungarians. Seven tourists were rescued from the water after the collision and the rest died. One of the bodies has not been recovered.

The prosecutor’s office brought charges against the Ukrainian captain in July 2022.

Today, the court convicted him of negligence by endangering river traffic and causing a lethal accident.

He was not sentenced on charges of failing to provide aid to the victims.

In the justification of the sentence, Judge Leona Nemeth said that the collision was caused by the Viking Sigyn, which accelerated without taking notice of the smaller Hableany and ascertaining that it was safe to do so. At the same time, once he was aware of the accident, the captain alerted the authorities and made sure that the rescue got under way, she said.

In the non-binding sentence, the captain was also banned from maritime traffic. He can be released on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence, according to the court’s statement.

The defence has appealed for acquittal or a lighter sentence, while the prosecution wants the second-instance court to also issue a guilty verdict for failure to provide aid to the victims.

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