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USCG stops illegal charter in Miami

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Officers from a Coast Guard Station Miami vessel terminated the charter trip of M/Y Golden Touch II, a 147-foot Sensation, on Aug. 19 near Nixon Beach at Key Biscayne, Miami, for violation of several safety issues. A boarding by officers found the yacht carried more paying passengers than the vessel is certified to have, a total of 47 people on board.

Other violations include the lack of a valid certificate of inspection, failure to have a drug and alcohol program, and the lack of a valid stability letter.

M/Y Golden Touch II

“Tragically, people have lost their lives on illegal charters, as was seen in the case of the vessel Jaguar in the Tampa Bay area and in the case of the Miami Vice yacht in Miami,” said Capt. Ladonn Allen, chief of Coast Guard 7th District prevention department. “The unsafe atmospheres that these types of companies and unlicensed captains, who knowingly engage in illegal activity, create on their boats show a complete disregard for passenger safety and have been responsible for multiple deaths in Florida alone. We cannot stress enough to anyone looking to charter a boat to verify the captain’s license and safety of the vessel.”

The owner and operator of M/Y Golden Touch II faces maximum civil penalties up to $41,456 for the violations.

The previous illegal charter yacht incidents referenced by Officer Allen were the deaths of a passenger and a charter boat crew member who died in the water near M/Y Jaguar, a 71-foot yacht, in Tampa in 2017 and another charter passenger who died when the operator of M/Y Miami Vice, a 91-foot yacht, in Miami in April.

The charter of Blessed, a 48-foot pleasure craft, was also stopped for safety issues and carrying too many passengers while for hire on the Miami River on Aug. 10.

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Comments

5 thoughts on “USCG stops illegal charter in Miami

  1. Dorie Cox

    Thank you Jeff,
    The Triton has not researched the deaths on yacht Jaguar, but most reports state that the operator did not hold proper credentials. We have not found court papers on the current status, but the word “alleged” may be more appropriate.
    We meant to give readers an insight into the officer’s reference in his quote, and the officer states that charter was run illegally.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/tourism/After-another-death-in-Florida-waters-local-charter-boat-industry-creates-coalition_168021486

  2. Pascal

    News report on the Jaguar accident showed there were 15 guests on board. Being an uninspected vessel, that makes it an illegal charter. Just like the Golden Touch II.

    We’ve been doing day and term charters for over 10 years now and have turned down a number of charters because it is just not worth the risk. We’ve had guests showing up with one extra pax despite being told in advance they couldn’t and that extra person stayed on the dock.

    Bareboat charters are often considered a grey area but many captains and brokers don’t even know the rules. We were boarded once on a bareboat charter, and the first thing the USCG boarding team asked for was to see both charter contracts, vessel and crew. You can bet that without them they would have considered the charter illegal.

    In either case, Jaguar and Golden Touch, the point is moot since they had more then even a bareboat charter allows.

  3. Kevin M. Kerwin, PE

    With the large number of U.S. built Broward, Derecktor, and Burger yachts for sale at reasonable prices these days, there are ample opportunities to convert them to legal Inspected vessels. We’ve done 8 conversions over the years, and it’s best to start with one needing a lot of refit work rather than a refreshed one. Please call us at 954 524 9013 for more information.

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