Coast Guard responds to 1 fatality, 4 illegal operations near Miami

The 53-foot vessel, FL6464RF, is moored near the Miami River, Florida, May 21, 2022. The vessel was operating as an illegal small passenger vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The 53-foot vessel, FL6464RF, is moored near the Miami River, Florida, May 21, 2022. The vessel was operating as an illegal small passenger vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — Coast Guard and Miami law enforcement crews responded to one fatality and stopped four passenger for hire operations, this past weekend, off south Florida’s coast.

A Coast Guard Sector Miami boarding team and a Sector Miami Marine Investigator conducted a boarding, Friday, of the 42-foot vessel, FL2065SU, with five passengers and two crewmembers aboard operating as an illegal uninspected passenger vessel near Miami Beach Marina.

The vessel’s voyage was terminated and cited for the following violations:

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 25.25-5 for failure to have Type 1 personal flotation devices for all persons aboard while operating as an uninspected passenger vessel.

A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach law enforcement team, Sector Miami boarding team and Sector Miami Marine Investigator conducted a boarding, Saturday, of the 15-foot Tiki Hut, FL3756TB, with seven passengers and one credentialed mariner near the Miami River. The captain of the vessel was operating under the influence of alcohol and operating as an illegal uninspected passenger vessel.

The vessel’s voyage was terminated and cited for the following violations:

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100 (a) for failure to have a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  • Violation of 46 U.S.C. 2302 (a) for operating a vessel in a negligent manner that endangers life, limb, or property of a person.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 26.20-1 operator did not have Merchant Mariner Credential in possession while operating a vessel with passengers for hire.
  • Violation of 33 C.F.R. 95.020 for operator under the influence.

A Miami-Dade Police Department officer notified Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders, Saturday, of a boating fatality on the Miami River. The Coast Guard is working with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and Miami Police Department as the incident is investigated. The 53-foot vessel, FL6464RF, was operating as an illegal small passenger vessel near the Miami River.

The vessel was cited for the following violations:

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401 for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515 (b) for failure to have a credentialed mariner while operating as a small passenger vessel.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100 (a) for failure to have a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 for failure to have a certificate of documentation endorsed for coastwise trade.
  • Violation of 33 C.F.R. 151.59 for failure to have a pollution place card.
  • Violation of 33 C.F.R. 155.450 for failure to have a garbage place card.
  • Violation of 33 C.F.R. 173.277 for failure to have state numbers permanently to each side of the hull.

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale law enforcement team conducted a boarding, Sunday, of the 40-foot vessel, DO1178153, with six passengers, one crewmember and one credentialed mariner aboard operating as an illegal uninspected passenger vessel near Bahia Mar Marina.

The vessel’s voyage was terminated and cited for the following violations:

  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 25.25-5 for failure to have Type 1 personal flotation devices for all persons aboard while operating as an uninspected passenger vessel.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 for failure to have a certificate of documentation endorsed for coastwise trade.
  • Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.163 for expired certificate of documentation.
  • Violation of 33 C.F.R. 160.105 for failure to comply with Captain of the Port Order.

“Illegal charters can be dangerous with unqualified and untrained operators unaware of what to do in maritime emergency situations,” said Jesus Porrata, chief of investigations, Coast Guard Sector Miami. “Before you step aboard a vessel ask to see the captain’s credentials and their vessel’s certificate of inspection to ensure the vessel has all the required safety equipment required aboard in case of an emergency.”

Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum 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 $103,050. Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a passenger vessel are:

  1. Up to $8,433 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
  2. Up to $5,254 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels less than 1600 gross tons carrying more than six passengers for hire.
  3. Up to $20,719 for not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.
  4. Up to $17,935 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
  5. Up to $13,132 for failure to have appropriate Personal Floatation Devices as required for certificated vessels.
  6. Up to $103,050 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

For more information about bareboat charters, please click here.

Anyone with information regarding an illegal charter is encouraged to contact CGIS here or download their app.

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