The captain of a cruise ship which collided with a sightseeing boat in central Budapest in May is to remain in custody under a non-binding court ruling. The court’s ruling against the 64-year-old Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn was appealable within three days, M. Gábor Tóth, the defendant’s lawyer, told MTI. Ferenc Ráb, deputy spokesman for the municipal chief prosecutor’s office, said that though the office has not yet seen the ruling, it would definitely appeal it.
On May 29, the Viking Sigyn cruise ship collided with a sightseeing boat that 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. In June, the captain was taken into custody on suspicion of criminal misconduct but later released on a bail of 15 million forints (EUR 45,600). The municipal court ruling granting the captain’s release also obliged him to remain in Budapest. However, the chief public prosecutor turned to the Kuria, Hungary’s supreme court, over the captain’s release, after which the top court ruled that the decision by lower courts to release the captain on bail had been unlawful.
At the end of July, the captain was taken back into custody on suspicion of failing to provide assistance after the collision.
Budapest’s 6th and 7th district prosecutor had earlier filed a request for an extension of the captain’s detention until Nov. 30. But a first-instance court ordered his detention only until Sept. 30 while rejecting a motion by the defence for the captain’s release on bail. Last month, the prosecutor’s office said it had successfully appealed that ruling and the captain’s detention had been extended by three months.