KEY WEST, Fla. — Coast Guard crewmen boarded the ghost ship G/S Flying Dutchman last week on suspicion of unauthorized haunting as well as having an expired life raft, according to Lt. j.g. Kevin Thomas, a spokesman for District Seven Command Center. Webb says the vessel violated the Coastal Association of Specter and Poltergeist Evaluation Regulations, and also had less than the minimum personal flotation devices.
“Coast Guard examiners determined that key safety procedures were inadequate and the crew did not have the necessary permits to safely haunt in navigable waters," said Lt. Cdr. Stuart Wetherby, the USCG chief of prevention at Sector Key West. “We will continue to work with the vessel's crew and the appropriate authorities to ensure that the issues found are corrected before the vessel resumes operations.”
The Flying Dutchman was located some 45 nautical miles northeast of Fort Zachary Taylor, in the vicinity of the Fleming Key, preparing for prime haunting activity when Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne came across the vessel while on a routine patrol around the outer islands.
“A Coast Guard boarding team was subsequently sent on board to carry out a search and to question the crew,” according to Thomas. The vessel reported to have sailed from the Bermuda Triangle to Key West and are said to be carrying a combined crew of 29 ghosts and ghouls.
Once on board, the boarding team completed the At-Sea Accountability (ASSA) and an Initial Safety Inspection, which found the vessel to have an expired life raft that dated back to 1790. In addition, only 20 life preservers were found to accommodate the 29 crew, most of which consisted of leather stitching and flares that seemed to be a long white wax candle.
Once the ASSA was complete, the Coast Guard boarding team inspected all documentation and discovered the expired Haunting Permit. “It is illegal in the navigable waters of the United States to be haunting without proper documentation,” explained Thomas. “In accordance with 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 7.8; all ghost vessels must renew their documentation to minimize unregistered haunting and/or spooking.”
When asked for a statement, Capt. Brendan Fokker exclaimed, “I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling Coasties!” The Flying Dutchman will continue on its scheduled journey round the Cape of Good Hope until Judgment Day.