24 detained for violating Polar Pioneer safety zone

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SEATTLE) — Coast Guard and partner agency law enforcement personnel detained 24 people who violated the 500-yard safety zone established around the Polar Pioneer on Monday morning.

The individuals were transported to Coast Guard Base Seattle at Pier 36, issued notices of violation that include a $500 fine and released with their equipment.

"The Coast Guard and our agency partners are committed to maintaining the integrity of navigable waterways and protecting the safety of the maritime public," said Capt. Joe Raymond, commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, in Seattle. "Individuals were detained after violating the established safety zone but there were no reports of injuries and we encourage anyone on the water to make safety their number one priority."

Personnel and assets from the Coast Guard, Seattle Police Department, Port of Seattle Police Department, King County Sheriff's Office, Seattle Fire Department and Washington State Patrol were involved in the enforcement of the 500-yard safety zone.

Coast Guard assets will continue to enforce the safety zone around the Polar Pioneer's transit north into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Planned protest activity is expected along the way and the Coast Guard will continue to manage waterway safety specifically commercial traffic within the shipping lanes.

On April 28, the Coast Guard established 100-yard safety zones around Arctic drilling and support vessels while moored or anchored, and a 500-yard safety zone while transiting to allow maximum use of the waterway by all users consistent with safe navigation. Coast Guard officials can seek a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone or day the individuals violated the zone.

By Professional Mariner Staff