As to the freighter's captain, yup sounds like drunk-navigating to me. From your Nakhimov link:
Just minutes into the voyage, the ship's pilot noticed that the large bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev was on a collision course with the Admiral Nakhimov. The Pyotr Vasev was a Japanese-built, 18,604-ton freighter recently acquired by the Soviet Union, and was carrying a cargo of oats and barley from Canada. The pilot radioed a warning to the Pyotr Vasev, and the freighter responded, "Don't worry. We will pass clear of each other. We will take care of everything."
Despite the message, Captain Viktor Tkachenko of the Pyotr Vasev did nothing to slow his ship or change course.