Federal authorities have returned this sailboat to its owner after a month-long investigation. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Customs returns detained sailboat

BOSTON — A sailboat that was the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Coast Guard has been released to the owner after a month, according to a CBP spokesman. No charges have been filed.

Public affairs specialist Sean Smith confirmed last week that Margi III was returned to the owner. The vessel had been held by the CBP since June 3 after it docked in Bar Harbor after failing to report a landing in Canada following a voyage from the Caribbean.

The captains and crews of any vessels arriving from international waters are required to report their arrival in the United States or Canada. Failure to report could result in fines, imprisonment or both.

Bar Harbor Harbormaster Charlie Phippen reported the landing to the CBP after he arrived at work to find the captain and crew tying up at the town dock. According to Phippen, The two men and one woman aboard said they had come to Bar Harbor from Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada after sailing from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

Once the CBP arrived, the Coast Guard and a State Police trooper with a drug-sniffing dog were called in to search the boat. Later that day, the Coast Guard towed the sailboat to Southwest Harbor where it was put on a mooring while the investigation continued.

Smith said privacy laws prohibit the CBP from discussing further details of the case, including releasing the names of the owner and people onboard or why Margi III was detained.

Under federal law, failure to report is a civil violation punishable by a fine of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation with the vessel subject to seizure and forfeiture. Any captain convicted of intentionally committing a violation is liable for a fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for one year or both.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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