Coast Guard stops illegal small passenger vessel near Fort Lauderdale

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement team conducts a boarding of the Colleen Marie in the Intercoastal waterway, Fort Lauderdale, Dec. 19, 2020. The vessel had 14 people aboard, 12 were passengers for hire, two people were crew members operating as an illegal small passenger vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale team conducts a boarding of the Colleen Marie in the Intercoastal waterway, Fort Lauderdale, Dec. 19, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI β€” The Coast Guard terminated an illegal charter of the 50-foot vessel, Colleen Marie, Saturday in the Intercoastal Waterway of Fort Lauderdale.

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement team conducted a boarding of the Colleen Marie with 14 people aboard: 12 were passengers for hire, two people were crew members operating as an illegal small passenger vessel.

The voyage was terminated and cited for the following violations:

  1. Violation of 46 CFR 176.100- for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
  2. Violation of 46 CFR 16.201-for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
  3. Violation of 33 CFR 160.105- for violation of a Coast Guard Captain of the Port order.
  4. Violation of 46 CFR 67.7- for failure to have a certificate of documentation on a vessel over 5 net tons with a Coastwise Trade endorsement.

β€œThe vessel was operating as an illegal bareboat charter because it did not meet all of the elements of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act,” said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Micucci, marine investigator, Coast Guard Sector Miami. “We’d like to remind people who charter a boat, they have a choice of captain and crew, and make sure there is a copy of a signed bareboat charter agreement with the owner of the vessel and the person chartering prior to stepping aboard.”

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.

For more information about bareboat charters, please click here.

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