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Captain sentenced to three years in guest death

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Update Dec. 4

Captain sentenced in guest death in propeller accident

A yacht captain was sentenced to nearly three years in prison in the death of a 25-year-old passenger during a charter in Miami earlier this year.

Mauricio Alvarez, 49, of Miami, was employed as captain on the 91-foot M/Y Miami Vice when the engine was engaged in reverse, killing one of the seven guests who had chartered the yacht on April 1.

On April 6, he was arrested at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as he attempted to board an overseas flight, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Media reports stated that Alvarez did not have a valid U.S. Coast Guard license and had previously been ticketed by the U.S. Coast Guard for operating a charter without an appropriate license.

The victim, Raul Menendez, was in the water off Monument Island when Alvarez started the engines and put them in reverse. Mr. Menendez was caught in the yacht’s propellers and killed.

 

Update: April 13

Captain arrested in charter guest death in propeller accident in Miami

The captain of a yacht involved in a fatal propeller accident was arrested at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on April 6 as he attempted to board an overseas flight, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Mauricio Alvarez, 49, of Miami, was employed as captain on M/Y Miami Vice when the engine was engaged in reverse, killing one of the seven guests who had chartered the yacht on April 1. An original report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) stated Mauricio Alvarez was 20 years old. The discrepancy has not been clarified.

The complaint alleges that Alvarez, as the operator of the yacht, “could not see the stern of the vessel or ensure the safety of any remaining swimmers in the water while engaging the engines from this location without assistance from another individual”.

Raul Menedez, 25, was struck by the propellers, “resulting in his death,” according to a FWC report.

Also, it is alleged that Alvarez did not have a U.S. captain license. He worked with a first mate on board and was hired for $150 per hour for the four-hour charter, which was listed at a cost of $3,000, according to the statement.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman ordered Alvarez detained on the charge of misconduct or neglect by a ship officer, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison. The next hearing is scheduled for April 20.

Another investigation into the incident by FWC is ongoing.

Update: April 4

Operator engages engines in reverse before fatality

The operator of the 91-foot yacht beached at Monument Island in Miami on Sunday engaged the engines in reverse while a guest was in the water, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) report on the fatal incident.

Twenty-year-old Mauricio Alvarez was at the helm of M/Y Miami Vice, an Intermarine yacht, when 25-year-old Raul Menendez was in the water around the island park. Mr. Menendez was one of seven guests aboard that day. He was struck by the propellers, “resulting in his death,” the FWC report said.

There were no other injuries during the incident, alcohol was not a factor, and arrests are pending, according to the report.

Original report: April 3

A 25-year-old yacht passenger died after being struck by the yacht’s propeller in Miami on Sunday.

Raul Menendez was one of seven passengers on the 91-foot M/Y Miami Vice, which was in the waters off Monument Island, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The vessel was operated by 20-year-old Mauricio Alvarez and 23-year-old Andres Tarcisio, according to the  FWC.

How Mr. Menendez ended up in the water is unclear, but several local authorities, including FWC and Miami Beach police responded to a call to the island at 4:42 p.m. and began a search for Mr. Menendez. Remains found confirmed his death, FWC said in a statement.

The man-made island park in Biscayne Bay is located between the MacArthur and Venetian causeways and is home to a 110-foot high obelisk dedicated to Miami pioneer Henry Flagler.

The incident is still under investigation.

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About Dorie Cox

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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13 thoughts on “Captain sentenced to three years in guest death

  1. joe killian

    USCG used to require a minimum age of 21 for a masters license. Maybe there was a reason?

  2. Ron

    The prop on a 90 ft boat is, well, not good. Their website says 95ft. Was he swimming near the boat?

  3. Prop Wash

    20 year old “operator” of 91 foot yacht in Miami? Dear yacht owner of M/Y Miami Vice – Just goes to show, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys

  4. Matt

    Footage shows from witnesses the yacht was beached on Monument island. Never have I seen this before and this is a prime example why we all anchor in good water and shut down engines prior to allowing guests in the water. These boat owners need to stop hiring young inexperienced wet behind the ears kids to run their yachts.

  5. Sam

    The yacht was breached on Monument Island which is illegal on top of having a 20 year old drive the yacht. A tragic incident that was not supposed to happen if the yacht was never breached on the island. My heart goes out to Raul Menendez. May justice be served.

  6. Michael Szekely

    To save money, it is unfortunate that yacht owners and charter companies allow young Captains that are to eager to impress and throw safety out the window. I have seen reckless driving usually associated with young Captains.

  7. C.S.

    Let’s start with more facts now, since we confirm the Captain is almost 50 years old. Maybe the Captain was too old for this command, unable to physically move around the vessel and check the stern?

    I often hear that young captains are the cause of massive safety concerns but when it’s an old guy, no one blames his age?

    I am 30 and command a new build 40 meter and have commanded 40-meter-plus yachts since I was 24 as Master with a full commercial 1600GRT/3000GT USCG license with 10 years in yachting and 5 years sailing commercial ships assist. Am I too young to command a mid range yacht as I do?

    It’s not about age, it’s about experience !

    20 years old + Yachtmaster + No experience = Bad Idea

    20 years old + Real seatime + Proper license = Good Idea

    50 years old + out of shape + Yachtmaster = Bad Idea

  8. Dan

    One of the best and safest Captains I’ve worked for was in his 70’s.
    There is a reason that the Coast Guard checks health/medical & fitness for renewals.
    Training & Experience are far more important than age.

  9. Tony Stone

    To the person that commented that a 50 yr old Captain is “too old”. Your lack of experience comes shining through with that ridiculous comment. Just goes to show that people say stupid things despite their credentials.

  10. Chuck Brightly

    It was a accident. It could happen to anyone. Mauricio is a solid guy. One of the finest captains I know. It’s a tragic accident.

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