US Coast Guard Ends Voyage of Passenger Vessel near Barnegat Light, NJ

On June 17, 2024, the Coast Guard took decisive action by terminating the voyage of a small passenger vessel near Barnegat Light, New Jersey, for being in violation of a Captain of the Port (COTP) Order. The COTP Order, which was in effect against the commercial vessel, specifically prohibited the carriage of paying passengers unless the vessel was under the command of an individual holding the appropriate Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).

During a routine vessel safety boarding, Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light uncovered that the acting captain, also known as the master, did not meet the regulatory requirements to serve as the vessel’s master. This finding confirmed that the vessel was not in compliance with the COTP Order, leading to the termination of the voyage.

Capt. Roberto Rivera, alternate COTP of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, emphasized the importance of credentialed mariners in ensuring the safety and security of commercial vessels. He reiterated the Coast Guard’s commitment to enforcing the rule of law while prioritizing the well-being of all individuals on the water and the Marine Transportation System.

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light cited the violation and terminated the voyage due to unsafe conditions, as outlined in Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 15.515(c). This failure to have the vessel operated under the direction and control of a properly credentialed individual raised serious concerns about the safety of the passengers and the vessel.

It is crucial for operators of passenger vessels to adhere to stringent requirements before launching operations. These include ensuring that the captain holds the appropriate U.S. Coast Guard license, enrolling the captain and crew in a drug and alcohol program, and obtaining a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire. The Coast Guard will continue to conduct thorough inspections to uphold safety standards and regulatory compliance in the maritime industry.

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