The U.S. Coast Guard has arrested the operator of a Maryland fishing boat for ignoring a Captain of the Port order and taking on passengers before correcting hazardous conditions.
Terrance Dale Roy was arrested by Coast Guard Investigative Service special agents on July 21 and stands accused of violating a Coast Guard Captain of the Port Order issued pursuant to the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, as well as failing to properly report a hazardous condition and operating his boat in a grossly negligent manner.
The Coast Guard issued Roy a Captain of the Port Order back in May after his vessel, the Fishing Lady, sank at a pier in Kent Narrows, Maryland. The order prohibited the vessel from operating commercially until the vessel’s seaworthiness was determined by Coast Guard. Without making the repairs necessary to have the order removed, Roy took on 34 paying passengers out over Father’s Day weekend.
Due to the condition of the vessel, it began taking on water and all passengers had to be disembarked by local volunteer fire departments.
Further investigation revealed potential additional violations of federal laws and regulations concerning the substandard conditions of the vessel, proper documentation for commercial service, and operation without a license.
Roy was arrested and charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor.
The arrest comes as the Coast Guard has been cracking down and aggressively pursuing illegal passenger vessel operations. The Coast Guard says without properly trained and licensed crew and vessels that do not meet inspection standards, passengers can unknowingly put themselves at risk.
“Illegal passenger vessel operators pose a significant danger to the public and adversely impact legitimate operators who comply with federal safety requirements,” said Cmdr. Baxter Smoak, chief of prevention for Coast Guard Sector MarylandNational Capital Region. “The Captain of the Port Orders issued to the Fishing Lady were intended to protect the public. Before you step off the pier and onto a boat as a paying passenger, you should ask to see the captain’s license and, if they carry more than six passengers, request to see their Certificate of Inspection. By departing the pier without correcting the grossly unsafe conditions, the operator put thirtyfour passenger lives in grave danger.”
If convicted, Roy could face up to six years in prison for each of the felony charges and up to one year in prison for the misdemeanor charge. Violations of Captain of the Port Orders can also result in civil penalties over $95,000.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.
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