State/National/WorldNews Briefs

Coast Guard halts vessel in Florida as illegal charter

MIAMI (AP) — The Coast Guard halted the voyage of the 48-foot pleasure craft with 18 people aboard in the Miami River after discovering several safety violations.

A Coast Guard news release said the vessel Blessed had more paying passengers aboard than it was certified to carry. The boat also did not have a valid certificate of inspection and did not have a credentialed mariner in control.

Authorities said passengers that participate in an illegal charter boat are breaking the law and can be taking personal risks. Some deaths have resulted from similar charters.

The owner and operator of Blessed faces maximum civil penalties of more than $41,000 for an illegal passenger-for-hire operation.

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