Coast Guard apprehends suspected lobster poacher in possession of stolen vessel

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – While responding to a report of an intoxicated boater in Casco Bay in southern Maine, the night of Aug. 19, 2009, a boat crew from Coast Guard Station South Portland discovered a vessel operating at high speeds with no navigation lights.

The boarding officer, Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Dawkins, instructed the coxswain of the Coast Guard boat to signal the vessel to stop as this was a dangerous situation. The vessel ignored the sirens, flashing blue lights and numerous verbal commands through a loud hailer to stop for a boarding.

After several minutes and multiple attempts to stop the vessel, the Coast Guard was able to conduct the boarding. Dawkins believed the boat operator might have been the intoxicated boater and requested the Maine Marine Patrol to meet them at the pier.

In addition to appearing intoxicated, the suspect could not provide proof of ownership, identification, or a consistent story. The boarding team also noticed a lobster trap full of lobsters in the bow of the vessel.

After further investigation and meeting with Officer T. Hale from the Maine Marine Patrol, it was discovered that the vessel along with several other ones, had been stolen from a nearby marina.

The suspect was transferred over to the Marine Patrol for further investigation into the possible poaching of lobsters and possession without a valid state permit. The vessel was returned to its rightful owner and the Coast Guard is on the looking for the remaining stolen vessels.

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