The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The captain of the port, Coast Guard Sector San Juan, announced Monday that a $5,000 civil penalty has been issued against a tourist who intentionally jumped from a passenger ferry during its arrival to the ferry terminal in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
During the afternoon of Jan. 24, a passenger aboard Cayo Largo jumped into the water and swam to shore while the ferry was conducting mooring operations. Upon exiting the water, this passenger was met and detained by local police. He sustained no injuries and was later released.
"Interfering with the safe operation of our commercial ferry fleet is something that we take very seriously," said Cmdr. Kailie Benson, chief of the Prevention Department at Sector San Juan. "Not only did jumping in the water put that person at risk for serious injury, it unnecessarily diverted the attention of the vessel’s captain and crew away from the safe navigation of the vessel and the safety of the embarked passengers."
Rail jumping, or an attempt to enter the water without permission of the vessel's captain, interferes with the safe operation of a vessel and is subject to a maximum civil penalty of up to $30,000. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 amended 46 United States Code 2302 to allow the ability to pursue a civil penalty against any individual who interferes with the safe operation of a vessel.