USCG Stops Illegal FLA Charter Operation
The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of the 70-foot motor yacht, Isabella, with six passengers aboard Wednesday in the vicinity of Port Everglades for conducting an illegal charter despite a prior Coast Guard 7th District commander order to cease illegal charter activity.
A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement boatcrew conducted the boarding of the Isabella and discovered the following violations:
- Violation of 33 C.F.R. 160.105 for violation of compliance with orders
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.605B for vessel not being in the control of a licensed individual.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 25.30 for an inoperable Fixed Firefighting Station.
- Violation of 33 C.F.R. 159.7 for marine sanitation valves that were left open.
- Violation of 33 C.F.R. 177.07 for unsafe condition creating especially hazardous condition.
- Violation of 46 U.S.C. 4308 for accumulation of fuel in bilges
“Our top priority is the safety of mariners and people who take to the sea, and illegal charters violate that safety within the maritime domain,” said Capt. Michael Fazio, staff judge advocate at Coast Guard 7th District. “We want to remind people they have the right to ask to see the captain’s credentials, inspection certificates and ask for the vessel safety plan. You put your life at risk and in danger when you get underway on a vessel without a properly credentialed mariner and that risk isn’t worth your life.”
Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of over $59,000 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations. Some potential fines for illegally operating a charter vessel are:
- Up to $18,943 for failure of an inspected vessel to be under the control of an individual with the appropriate Coast Guard license.
- Up to $7,710 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
- Up to $4,803 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers.
- Up to $16,398 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
- Up to $12,007 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than six passengers