By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Local and federal officials put an end to two illegal charters Friday near Miami Marine Stadium.

Officials said the US Coast Guard teamed up with Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and conducted a boarding of the 33-foot vessel Miami Boss.

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Authorities determined that the vessel, carrying 11 people, was an illegal small passenger vessel when the charterer reported not having a choice in captain and crew, and the crew was paid for by the vessel owner.

Officials cited the illegal operations with the following violations:
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100 (a) – No valid Certificate of Inspection while having passengers for hire.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 – Failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 180.71 (a)(e) – Failure to ensure adequate number of type 1 PFDs for all personnel on board and that life jackets comply with 180.71(a)-(e).
A Coast Guard Station Miami Beach boarding team member teamed up with Miami Beach Police officers and conducted a boarding of the 45-foot vessel Live A Little. There were 10 people aboard, eight were paying passengers and two non-credentialed mariners. It was determined the vessel was an illegal small passenger vessel when the charterer did not have a valid signed charter agreement.
The voyage was terminated and cited for the following violations:
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 176.100 (a) – No valid Certificate of Inspection while having passengers for hire.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.515 (b) – Not having a credentialed mariner in control while operating a small passenger vessel.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 16.201 – Failure to have a drug and alcohol program.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 15.401 – Failure to employ an appropriately credentialed mariner.
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 180.71 – Failure to ensure adequate number of type 1 PFDs for all personnel on board and that life jackets comply with 180.71(a)-(e).
• Violation of 46 C.F.R. 67.7 – Failure to have a Certificate of Documentation on a vessel over 5 net tons.

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“These vessels were operating as illegal bareboat charters because they did not meet all of the requirements of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act,” said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Micucci, marine investigator, Coast Guard Sector Miami. “We’d like to remind charters they should always have a charter agreement, a choice of captain and a signed contract by both the owner and charterer.”

Owners and operators of illegal passenger vessels can face maximum civil penalties of: $60,000 or over for illegal passenger-for-hire-operations.

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Officials said charters that violate a Captain of the Port Order can face over $95,000. Some potential civil penalties for illegally operating a passenger vessel are:
• Up to $7,846 for failure of operators to be enrolled in a chemical testing program.
• Up to $4,888 for failure to provide a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection for vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire.
• Up to $16,687 for failure to produce a valid Certificate of Documentation for vessels over 5 gross tons.
• Up to $12,219 for failure to have been issued a valid Stability Letter prior to placing vessel in service with more than six passengers for hire.
• Up to $95,881 for every day of failure to comply with a Captain of the Port Order.

CBSMiami.com Team