The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(DETROIT) — Coast Guard Sector Detroit suspended the merchant marinerâ€™s license of a Port Huron, Mich., man Sept. 21, 2010, for violating Coast Guard regulations governing small passenger vessel operations.
The individual, holder of a Coast Guard issued masterâ€™s license, was charged with misconduct and had his mariner’s license suspended for six months outright, followed by a 36-month probationary period for knowingly carrying more than six paying passengers onboard the vessel Pon Tiki on at least two occasions without the vessel being inspected or certificated for that service.
Coast Guard regulations require that small passenger vessels (less than 100 gross tons) operating on U.S. navigable waterways be inspected by the Coast Guard and issued a Certificate of Inspection before the vessel may carry more than six paying passengers.
Coast Guard marine inspectors ensure that vessels required to be inspected meet very strict guidelines for structural integrity, lifesaving, firefighting, and other safety standards. Prior to the discovery of these violations, Sector Detroit marine inspectors attempted to assist the licensed master in gaining compliance with the small passenger vessel requirements through a courtesy inspection and detailed correspondence outlining the steps the master needed to take before carrying paying passengers.
Failure to comply with the requirements for small passenger vessel inspection and certification is an offense which poses serious risks to the safety of both the passengers onboard and to U.S. ports and waterways. Coast Guard Sector Detroit will investigate allegations of violations of the laws and regulations promulgated to promote marine safety and pursue enforcement action against any party found to be in violation.