Tuesday, March 22, 2016

USCG Shuts Down LB Passenger Vessel

By Mark Edward Nero

Investigators at the US Coast Guard’s Los Angeles-Long Beach sector said they have identified and ordered the cessation of activities on what they say is an illegal passenger vessel operating in Long Beach.

The vessel Orion, operated by the Angel’s Ashes charter company, is suspected of taking passengers for hire while operating out of Long Beach Harbor. Coast Guard Los Angeles-Long Beach sector commanding officer Capt. Jennifer Williams has issued a captain of the port order to the vessel’s owner to immediately cease operations as a commercial passenger vessel.

The Angel’s Ashes is a Long Beach-based company providing burials at sea. The Orion is a 40-foot twin diesel, aft cabin motor yacht used by the company in the course of its business.

In a notice posted on the Angel’s Ashes website after the Coast Guard action, the company announced that it is currently undergoing a “restructuring,” and is currently only performing unattended burials at sea.

Under the law, vessels carrying at least one passenger for hire, but no more than six passengers, require at a minimum a Coast Guard credentialed operator who holds a valid passenger vessel operator license.

Vessels carrying more than six passengers with at least one passenger for hire require a Coast Guard licensed master. The vessel must also be inspected by the Coast Guard, with the vessel’s certificate of inspection posted in a location visible to passengers.

Operating an illegal passenger vessel can potentially result in civil penalties in excess of $35,000 depending on the severity and violation, according to the Coast Guard.