Mainer’s voyage to Haiti now uncertain

Coast Guard officials question

the qualifications of Greg Brooks’

crew as he tries to deliver relief supplies

MIAMI — A Maine ship bound for Haiti with relief supplies may be prevented by the U.S. Coast Guard from proceeding beyond the port of Miami, its owner learned Wednesday evening.

Greg Brooks, owner of the 220-foot Sea Hunter, was told by Coast Guard officials by telephone that he cannot sail the ship to Haiti without a licensed captain and first mate aboard.

Brooks, who usually uses the ship to search for sunken shipwreck treasures, said he has sailed without licensed personnel on past voyages because the Sea Hunter is documented as a noncommercial vessel and he understood that no such licenses were required.

That changed Thursday, when Coast Guard officials in Miami contacted their counterparts in South Portland to inquire about the qualifications of the crew.

“My heart feels like it’s been ripped right out of me,” said Brooks, who flew to Miami ahead of the ship late last week to arrange for the loading of additional relief supplies from a Florida-based relief organization.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

Here’s a link to an earlier dispatch about the problems:

Coast Guard mulling Maine ship’s Haiti trip

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