Coast Guard Boards 34 Vessels During Holiday Weekend Patrols

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL 754) anchors in the harbor at San Juan, Puerto Rico in September 2017. Over this past Labor Day Weekend, the Coast Guard boarded 34 vessels in San Juan Sector, looking for illegal chartering operations. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL 754) anchors in the harbor at San Juan, Puerto Rico in September 2017. Over this past Labor Day Weekend, the Coast Guard boarded 34 vessels in San Juan Sector, looking for illegal chartering operations. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

U.S. Coast Guard boat crews in Sector San Juan completed law enforcement patrols during Labor Day weekend in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in support of Operation PAX Defender.

During the operation, Sector San Juan boat crews participated in a larger regional effort to interdict possible illegal charter operations throughout the Coast Guard's 7th District area of responsibility.

Sector San Juan boat crews boarded 34 vessels that yielded one violation for a boat that was missing safety equipment on board.

"We will continue to be on the lookout and hold accountable vessel operators and those who seek to mislead the public and Coast Guard officials with illegal charter operations," said Lt. Carlos Diaz-Colon, Sector San Juan marine investigator. "We will also continue our outreach efforts to help educate charter passengers on safe and legal charter practices."

Operation PAX Defender started as a response to increased illegal charter activity in Coast Guard 7th District's area of responsibility. The Coast Guard's 7th District Headquarters in Miami is responsible for Coast Guard activities throughout a 1.7 million square mile area, which encompasses Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and 34 foreign nations and territories.

This operation involved increasing patrol efforts throughout the 7th District to target operators who mislead and misrepresent themselves to customers and operate without license or certification.

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $41,456 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations.

Sector San Juan has issued 11 active Captain of the Port Orders in Puerto Rico, ordering operators and vessels found to be operating as illegal charters to cease and desist.

Sector San Juan boat crews supported Operation PAX Defender with 33-foot Special Purpose Craft response boats and the Coast Guard Marine Protector-class boat Yellowfin, homeported in San Juan.

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