Captain of sinking boat arrested after 34 people rescued in Maryland, Coast Guard says
A commercial fishing boat that sank off the coast of Maryland was not allowed to drive with passengers until officials deemed it seaworthy again, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
That didn't stop the captain from taking dozens of paying passengers on Father's Day weekend, officials said.
At least 34 people had to be rescued on June 19 when the boat - Fishing Lady - took in water in Eastern Bay, the Coast Guard said in a press release on Tuesday. Now the captain has been arrested.
Terrance Dale Roy is accused of violating a US Coast Guard captain who banned him from operating the commercial fishing boat. He is also charged with not reporting a dangerous condition and "grossly negligent" operating the boat, the Coast Guard said.
Roy faces up to six years in prison on either count of the crime and one year in prison on charges of offense.
According to the press release, in May Fishing Lady sank on a pier in Kent Narrows - a community about an hour east of Washington, D.C. and surrounded by the Chester River and Eastern Bay.
The Coast Guard thereupon issued a captain of the harbor rules, the Fishing Lady from operating commercially until experts could determine her seaworthiness.
"Without making the necessary repairs to remove the order and keep the ship safe, Roy went on to take (34) paying passengers on Father's Day weekend," the Coast Guard said. "Due to the poor condition of the ship, it absorbed water that could not be removed with the ship's bilge pumps."
According to the announcement, several volunteer fire brigades had to rescue everyone on board.
Lifeboats from at least five different authorities reacted to the scene near Tilghman Point in Eastern Bay at around 9:30 a.m. on June 19, the Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department said in a Facebook post.
All passengers were removed from the sinking boat and taken to nearby Wells Cove by fire and lifeboats, while some officers stayed behind to help Roy get the fishing lady safely ashore.
A passenger was brought to the hospital for a "heart examination", the fire department said.
According to the Coast Guard press release, further investigation revealed that other violations may have occurred "relating to the inferior conditions of the ship, proper documentation for commercial service and unlicensed operation".
Cmdr. Baxter Smoak, chief of Coast Guard Prevention Sector Maryland-National Capital Region, said paying passengers on charter boats should always ask for a captain's license and their inspection certificate.
"Illegal operators of passenger ships pose a significant threat to the public and adversely affect legitimate operators who comply with federal security requirements," he said in the press release. "The captain of the port orders that were given to the fisher lady served to protect the public."
In addition to prosecution, the Coast Guard said anyone who owns or operates an illegal passenger-to-hire operation could face fines ranging from $ 2,500 to over $ 95,000.
Individuals can report suspected illegal charters to the nearest Coast Guard Command Center.
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