Special agents of the US Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) arrested a Maryland-based charter fishing vessel operator for violating a US Coast Guard Captain of the Port Order issued pursuant to the Ports and Waterways Safety Act.
The CGIS said Terrance Dale Roy also failed to properly report a hazardous condition as required by regulations and operated his boat in a grossly negligent manner.
Mr Roy was charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison for each of the felony charges and up to one year in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for the misdemeanor charge, as well as other criminal sanctions.
The coast guard issued Mr Roy a Captain of the Port Order in May 2021 after his vessel Fishing Lady sank at a pier in Kent Narrows, Maryland.
The order prohibited the vessel from operating commercially until its seaworthiness was determined by coast guard professionals.
Without making the repairs necessary to have the order removed and ensure the safety of the vessel, Mr Roy proceeded to take 34 paying passengers out over the third weekend of June 2021.
Due to the substandard condition of the vessel, it began taking on water, which was found to be impossible to remove using the onboard bilge pumps.
Marine units from the Grasonville and Kent Island volunteer fire departments arrived on scene and safely disembarked all the passengers on board.
Further investigation revealed potential additional violations of federal laws and regulations concerning the substandard conditions of the vessel, proper documentation for commercial service, and operation without a license.
Commander Baxter Smoak, chief of prevention for Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region, said that by departing the pier without correcting the grossly unsafe conditions, the operator put 34 passenger lives in grave danger.
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