The Coast Guard terminated an illegal charter of the 63' yacht, Hello0000, Wednesday near Miami Beach Marina.
A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach 33' Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement team conducted a boarding of the vessel with 11 people aboard: nine were passengers for hire, including two children, and two crewmembers operating as an illegal passenger-for-hire vessel. The appropriate amount of personal flotation devices were on board, but a two-year-old passenger was not wearing a required PFD, and the flares and Certificate of Documentation were expired.
The voyage was terminated and cited for the following violations:
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100(a) — for not having a valid Certificate of Inspection.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 — for failure to have a valid Certificate of Documentation for Coastwise Trade.
- Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 — for failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
- Violation of 33 C.F.R. 175.15(c) — for failure of a child under the age of 13 to wear an appropriate PFD.
- Violation of 33 C.F.R. 175.125 —for failure to have serviceable distress signals.
- "The vessel was operating as an illegal bareboat charter because it did not meet all of the elements of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act," Chief Warrant Officer Michael Micucci, marine investigator, Coast Guard Sector Miami, said in a statement announcing the termination. "We'd like to remind people who charter a boat, they should choose a certified captain and crew, and to check all of the safety equipment prior to departing, especially life jackets, for the correct amount, size, and serviceability.”
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.