Illegal charter operation uncovered on American yacht

The owner and operator of American charter yacht Golden Touch II could face up to $41,456 (€35,860) in penalties after being outed by the US Coast Guard for running an illegal charter operation in Miami.

The Coast Guard boarded the 32-metre (105-foot) Broward Marine yacht last weekend and discovered a number of pertinent safety issues.

Golden Touch II is only equipped to accommodate seven guests and four crewmembers, but was found to have 47 guests on board.

The yacht also lacked a number of compulsory documentation and programmes, including a valid Certificate of Inspection, stability letter and drug and alcohol programme for both guests and crew.

Ladonn Allen, Coast Guard chief captain, likened the illegal running of the charter yacht to an incident aboard the 29-metre yacht Miami Vice earlier this year, which resulted in the death of a 25-year-old man.

“Tragically people have lost their lives on illegal charters, as was seen in the case of the vessel Jaguar in the Tampa Bay area and in the case of the Miami Vice yacht in Miami," he noted.

“The unsafe atmospheres that these types of companies and unlicensed captains, who knowingly engage in illegal activity, create on their boats shows a complete disregard for passenger safety and has been responsible for multiple deaths in Florida alone,” he added.

“We cannot stress enough to anyone looking to charter a boat to verify the captain’s license and safety of the vessel.”

Marine Traffic states that the yacht remains in Miami.

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