October 15, 2004

La Cruise gets temporary reprieve

The U.S. Coast Guard is allowing the casino vessel La Cruise to temporarily remain in port in Jacksonville, Fla., pending appeal of an order to leave U.S. waters. The vessel is being permitted to remain in port without penalty until the appeal process to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. is completed. Pending the decision of the appeal, La Cruise Inc. is required to submit a plan that addresses port safety concerns. A Captain of the Port Order (COTP) was issued to the La Cruise casino boat October 5, which required it to leave all U.S. waters. The Coast Guard says the order was "based on facts indicating a fundamentally flawed safety management system." This prevented the Coast Guard from being confident in the ship's ability to provide for the safety of its passengers. "We support the appeal process, which exists to ensure the fairness of this serious decision," said Cmdr. Larry Bowling, executive officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Jacksonville. "During this time, La Cruise is not permitted to take on passengers, the safety of whom has and will always be the Coast Guard's primary concern."

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