A UK businessman refitted a canal boat to carry up to 45 passengers along the Staffs & Worcester Canal without paying heed to safety requirements.
The UK registered Canal Boat Hatherton Belle is a 20 metre vessel that had been adapted to carry up 45 passengers along the Staffs & Worcester Canal from Calf Heath Marina.
The owner, local businessman Andy Small who also operates a bar next to the Marina, used the canal boat to take paying parties on cruises along the canal. It was brought to the attention of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) that the Hatherton Belle had no Passenger Ship Safety Certificate or Domestic Management Certificate.
Mr Small was served with a Prohibition Notice as the canal boat lacked safety equipment, but he ignored it and continued to take paying passengers on cruises along the canal. When interviewed by MCA enforcement officers he admitted breaching the prohibition notice and not having any formal boatman qualifications to allow him to captain cruises.
At the subsequent court hearing Mr Small, pleaded guilty and was fined US$16,219, plus costs of US$ 7,548.