Coast Guard terminates Alaska charter's voyage

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

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a vessel illegally carrying passengers for hire operating out of Whittier, Alaska, on Friday.

The Coast Guard captain of the port in Valdez ordered Pacific Provider to return to its port of origin in Whittier. Two passengers provided statements to a Coast Guard Station Valdez boarding team that they paid for a trip on Pacific Provider. The boarding team found the vessel to be in violation of the Vessel Passenger Service Act.

“When people pay to be a passenger on a vessel in Alaska, part of their assumption is that the vessel’s operator is fully compliant with all safety regulations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mason Wilcox, chief of inspections for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “It appears this vessel was not authorized to be taking passengers for hire and was avoiding Coast Guard oversight.”

Pacific Provider received a letter from the Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Center prohibiting it from operating in coastwise trade because the vessel had been previously registered in a foreign country.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage personnel and agents with the Coast Guard Investigative Service are conducting an investigation into the vessel’s operation.

By Professional Mariner Staff