Coast Guard stops 2 illegal charters off Miami coast

33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo File Photo

33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo File Photo

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated the voyages of two pleasure crafts, Sunday, that were operating as illegal charters off the Miami coast.

While on patrol, a Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boat crew conducted a boarding of the 41-foot pleasure craft, Industriales, with eight people aboard in the vicinity of the Miami River and the 24-foot pontoon with 17 people aboard near Haulover Inlet, and discovered the following violations:

41-foot, Industriales:

  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 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.

24-foot pontoon, FL 3385PK:

  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 for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.
  6. Violation of 33 C.F.R. 175.15(a)(1) for failure to have the appropriate amount of personal flotation devices.
  7. Violation of 33 C.F.R. 177.07 for termination for unsafe condition of excessive people aboard.

“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,” said Jesus Porrata, chief of investigations, Coast Guard Sector Miami. “Illegal charters can be dangerous with unqualified and untrained operators unaware of what to do in maritime emergency situations.”

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of: $60,000 or over for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations. Charters that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face over $95,000. 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.
  • 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 six passengers.
  • Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

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