Megayacht Seized In Illegal Diving Incident

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Posted by on July 09, 2006 at 20:08:09:

BYM News passes on this interesting story, the 290-foot yacht Constellation has been detained in Panama after the yacht was involved in some illegal underwater exploration in the Galapagos Islands. A mini-submarine which was impounded and her crew was jailed in the incident. The group had also chartered the Panamanian support vessel Cebaco Bay and the mini-submarine from UK based Silvercrest Submarines. The Russians apparently paid $120,000 for a four-hour jaunt around the islands. The use of submarines in the area is forbidden.

Last Friday, the Cebaco Bay was stopped by the Ecuadorian navy off the island San Cristóbal.When the boat was boarded, the crew said that the permissions to dive had been organized by the Constellation. The group on the Constellation denied this and the yacht left the scene but was later detained as it tried to enter the Panama canal. Meanwhile, the captain of the Cebaco Bay has been sentenced to 90 days in prison in Ecuador and the crew has thirty-day sentences.

The main question is who knew what and when. In the article in the Independent, the wife of the sub owner says that he did not know it was illegal and thought that permissions had been arranged by the Constellation and that his contracted stated that the tour organizers would handle all permits.

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