Coast Guard stops illegal charter near Miami Marine Stadium

The Coast Guard terminated an illegal charter of the 55-foot pleasure yacht, Contrarian, Friday near Miami Marine Stadium, Florida, Jan. 22, 2021. The vessel had 15 people aboard: 13 were passengers for hire and two non-credentialed crew members operating as an illegal small passenger vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

The Coast Guard terminated an illegal charter of the 55-foot pleasure yacht, Contrarian, Friday near Miami Marine Stadium, Florida, Jan. 22, 2021.  (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard terminated an illegal charter of the 55-foot pleasure yacht, Contrarian, Friday near Miami Marine Stadium.

A Coast Guard Station Miami 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement team conducted a boarding of the vessel with 15 people aboard: 13 were passengers for hire and two non-credentialed crew members operating as an illegal small passenger vessel.

This illegal charter was called in as a tip from a good Samaritan.

The voyage was terminated and cited for 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. 67.7- for failure to have a valid Certificate of Documentation on a vessel over five net tons.
  3. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201- for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  4. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515(b)- for failure to have a credential mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.
  5. Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401(a)- for failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.

“Before going on a bareboat charter, ensure the owner of the vessel has signed the bareboat charter agreement prior to going underway,” said Lt. Jody Stiger, Marine Investigator at Sector Miami. “The charterer is not in control of the vessel until both have signed the agreement.”

Owners and operators of illegal passenger 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 passenger 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 six passengers for hire.
  • Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

Anyone with information regarding an illegal charter is encouraged to contact CGIS.

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