U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian shiprider board stolen vessel

Royal Canadian Mounted Police photo.

SEATTLE – Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Mounted Police shipriders program, a collaborative U.S. Coast Guard and RCMP cross-border effort, arrested individuals aboard a stolen Canadian sailboat on May 4.

A Coast Guard Station Bellingham boatcrew and shipriders from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were conducting a patrol when they encountered a 26-foot white-and-blue sailboat near the U.S.-Canadian maritime border. It appeared that the vessel had no power because the two male individuals aboard were rowing.

The men aboard later reported that they ran out of fuel. The Coast Guard boatcrew offered to tow the sailboat to a U.S. port, but the personnel decided to return to Canadian water by sail power.

Records indicated that neither of the men aboard were the registered owner of the sailboat. Canadian police records did show that one of the men aboard is wanted in British Columbia on an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The other individual had standing condition in which he is unable to board any vessel he does not own or possess.

“Inter-agency collaboration is vital to the effectiveness of our border operations,” said Inspector Jim Leonard, Acting Officer in Charge of the BC [British Columbia] RCMP Federal Serious & Organized Crime Border Integrity Program. “The mixed crews of our Shiprider program provide the flexibility and authorities required to operate seamlessly in the marine environment on both sides of the border.”

After the sailboat returned to Canadian water, the shiprider crew boarded the sailboat and arrested the man on his outstanding warrants. The Coast Guard crew members and shipriders later transferred the man to Sidney RCMP Detachment for processing while police attempt to locate the owner.

“This arrest highlights the importance of the steadfast partnership that Sector Puget Sound maintains with RCMP through the Shiprider program in order to ensure an effective presence and combat illicit cross-border activity,” said Capt. Patrick Hilbert, commander, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

For more information on the arrest and penalty of the individuals, please visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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