Coast Guard halts 2 illegal charters in Miami

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated two illegal charters Saturday near Miami.

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boarding team boarded the 55-foot motor yacht, My Way, with eight passengers aboard and discovered the following violations:

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  2. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515(b) for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating as a small passenger vessel.
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.
  4. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  5. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401(a) for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.
  6. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 for failure of a vessel of greater than 5 gross tons to have a Certificate of Documentation while in Coastwise trade.

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boarding team boarded a 22-foot pontoon boat with 10 passengers aboard and discovered the following violations:

  1. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  2. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515(b) for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating as a small passenger vessel.
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 170.120 for failure to have a valid stability letter.
  4. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  5. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401(a) for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.

A Captain of the Port order will be issued to each vessel operator.

“The Coast Guard will continue to aggressively pursue vessel operators who place the lives of patrons at risk by not complying with federal passenger vessel regulations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Juan C. Avila, Coast Guard Sector Miami chief of enforcement. “We urge anyone paying for a trip on a passenger vessel to ask to see the Merchant Mariner Credential of the vessel operator to verify their captain is properly credentialed by the Coast Guard.

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face civil penalties of $60,000 or more for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. Charters that violate a Captain of the Port order can face over $95,000 in civil penalties. Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a charter vessel are:

  • Up to $7,846 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
  • Up to $4,888 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire.
  • Up to $16,687 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
  • Up to $12,219 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than passengers for hire.
  • Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port order.

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