Tuesday, October 27, 2015

USCG Suspends Towing Captain’s Credential

By Mark Edward Nero

A US Administrative Law Judge has suspended the merchant mariner credential of Cindy Stahl of Bainbridge Island for six months for operating a commercial towing vessel with an invalid credential.

The suspension was issued on Oct. 7, nearly eight months after a Feb. 17 incident where the US Coast Guard says Stahl wrongfully assumed direction and control of the towing vessel Shannon in Elliot Bay with an invalid credential in violation of US laws and regulations.

Stahl’s credential was suspended at the time as a result of a previous violation during which the Coast Guard says she endangered the crew and passengers aboard multiple Washington State ferries by purposely hindering their safe transit in Elliot Bay near Seattle on Oct. 7, 2014.

Stahl had also previously been issued a Letter of Warning by the Coast Guard in March 2013 and had her credential suspended for three months in September 2013, both for other violations of US laws and regulations.

“The Coast Guard’s enforcement actions regarding mariner credentials are remedial and not penal in nature and are designed to maintain standards of competence and conduct necessary to minimize loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environment harm on US waters,” the senior investigator at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, Chief Warrant Officer Brian Hennessy, explained. “When repeat offenses warrant more significant action, the Coast Guard will not hesitate to seek lengthy suspension or revocation of a mariner’s credentials.”