The BC RCMP is on the water and enforcing the Quarantine Act

Border Integrity

2020-07-21 13:22 PDT

File # 2020-10148

The RCMP’s Pacific Shiprider Program is issuing fines to US boaters contravening the Quarantine Act.

The Government of Canada has introduced measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada, including the restriction of all discretionary travel into Canada. The current measures are in place until August 21, 2020.

Through reports from the public, or constant communication with partners such as Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Coast Guard, US Coast Guard, and US Customs and Border Protection, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Shiprider identifies and targets potential offending vessels via the use of technology or regular patrols, for investigations under the Quarantine Act and other Federal Statutes. The Pacific Shiprider Program is part of the BC RCMP Federal Policing. Shiprider conducts maritime patrols and also investigates the activities of Organized Crime groups.

Shiprider has recently issued Quarantine Act fines to the operators of US based vessels who gained access legally to Canadian waters, but who did not respect the conditions of gaining entry.

On July 10th, the operator of one vessel was charged under Section 58 of the Quarantine Act and was issued with a $1000 fine. It was clear the persons on this vessel had misstated their intention to travel to Alaska and had entered Canada for the purposes of tourism. Boaters are not allowed within Canadian territorial or boundary waters for discretionary, leisure (non-essential) reasons, including touring, sightseeing and pleasure fishing.

On July 17, the operator of a whale watching vessel based in the USA was also located by Shiprider, fined for the same offense and after dealing with CBSA, was returned to US waters with his passengers. DFO officers provided valuable assistance during this intervention.

Boaters found illegally within Canadian waters may face severe penalties, including fines, seizure of their vessels and/or criminal charges. Upon being served with a fine, the offending boaters will be excluded from Canadian waters and may face other restrictions from CBSA, such as future access to Canadian waters.
Quarantine Act offenses could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening this act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to 3 years or both.

Consult the CBSA website for information on reporting requirement for private boaters entering Canadian waters.

More information on the prohibition on crossing the border for discretionary reasons from CBSA.

More information on the RCMP Border Integrity Teams adapting to COVID-19 pandemic

 

Released by

Cpl. Daniel Michaud

Media Relations Officer
Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC)
Office: 778-290-4657
Fax: 778-290-6092

Email: bcfederalmedia@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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