Hydro pod runner ends attempt to run to Bermuda

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet tow a hydro pod off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, April 24, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet tow a hydro pod off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, April 24, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

MIAMI — The second attempt by an endurance runner hoping to reach Bermuda from Miami ended early Sunday when he asked to be removed from his “hydro pod.” The runner ignored a previously issued Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Order to not depart on his seagoing journey.  The Order outlined specific safety conditions which Mr. Baluchi failed to meet.

At approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, a Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale boatcrew discovered Mr. Reza Baluchi aboard his makeshift hydro pod approximately 7 miles off the coast of Jupiter en route to Bermuda. Coast Guard crews remained on-scene with Mr. Baluchi throughout the night to ensure his safety and to prevent other vessels from colliding with the hydro pod. The Coast Guard Cutter Gannet arrived on scene, and Mr. Baluchi voluntarily ended his own voyage.

Mr. Baluchi embarked the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet with his hydro pod in tow.

“This was an inherently unsafe voyage attempt that put the lives of Mr. Baluchi and other mariners in danger,” said Capt. Austin Gould, Coast Guard Sector Miami Commander. “This proposed adventure unnecessarily risked the lives of Mr. Baluchi, the maritime public, and our Coast Guard men and women. Additionally, the Coast Guard is obligated to ensure taxpayer money and resources are used efficiently and appropriately.”

The Coast Guard issued a formal letter to the adventure runner April 15th, ordering Mr. Baluchi to not embark on his sea-going adventure without ensuring appropriate safety measures were in place.

One purpose of COTP orders issued pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 1221 et seq, The Ports and Waterways Safety Act, is to ensure the safety of vessels.  A violation of a COTP order may result in imprisonment as well as civil and criminal penalties.

During his previous attempt to reach Bermuda in October 2014, Baluchi cost U.S. taxpayers more than $140,000 in Coast Guard rescue expenses.

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