The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The Coast Guard lifted a “no-sail” order on the M/V Isla Bonita passenger/cargo ferry Monday, following a reported vessel security breach Sunday night at the intra-island ferry terminal in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard Command Center in Sector San Juan was contacted Sunday night by the Puerto Rico Maritime Transportation Authority facility security officer at the ferry terminal in Fajardo who reported that more than 40 people and 20 vehicles seeking transportation to Vieques had boarded the M/V Isla Bonita without permission and were refusing to disembark.
The Coast Guard proceeded to order the M/V Isla Bonita to cease operations pending a Coast Guard investigation surrounding this security incident as well as confirmation of strengthened security procedures on the part of ATM. The Coast Guard released the M/V Isla Bonita to return to operations at approximately noon Monday.
“If there is a breach of security at a ferry terminal, ferry operations will be halted until we can determine it is safe for the vessel to resume its schedule,” said Capt. Robert Warren, Sector San Juan commander and captain of the port in San Juan. “The Coast Guard will continue to work closely with the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation, ATM and the police department to strengthen the existing vessel and facility security plans to ensure the safety and security of the thousands of residents and tourists who use this service.”
Commercial vessels and regulated waterfront facilities are required by the federal Maritime Security Transportation Act to control access according to the provisions in their Coast Guard-approved security plans.