MIAMI — Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale and Coast Guard Investigative Service law enforcement officers terminated the voyage of the 31-foot vessel Lady Di, Friday, due to illegally operating as a small passenger vessel near the 15th Street Marina, Fort Lauderdale.
During the boarding, the law enforcement team discovered the vessel had nine passengers-for-hire and one credentialed mariner. The passengers reported they paid $500 for a four-hour charter. During a review of the bareboat charter agreement, the captain of the vessel was the owner of the vessel, making the agreement invalid.
This vessel has an active Captain of the Port Order for operating as a commercial vessel carrying more than 6 passengers without a Certificate of Inspection issued in August 2021 by Marine Safety Detachment Nashville, Tennessee, on behalf of Sector Ohio Valley, Louisville, Kentucky.
“The Lady Di’s voyage was terminated due to not meeting specific requirements for a bareboat charter operation,” said Chief of Investigations Jesus Porrata, Sector Miami. “This clearly demonstrates no matter where you operate, you will face enforcement actions. Illegal charters that places lives and legitimate maritime businesses at risk will continue to be a major focus for the Coast Guard.”
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 $97,000. Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a passenger vessel are:
- Up to $4,946 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire.
- Up to $7,939 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a drug and alcohol program.
- Up to $16,844 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.