Gambling Ship Stayed in Port Despite Coast Guard Order

Victory I (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 2017-09-28 18:49:56

The Coast Guard says that it will investigate the reasons why a gambling ship stayed moored at Port Canaveral despite a mandatory departure order during Hurricane Irma. The vessel, the 1972-built Victory I, was large enough that it was covered by the Coast Guard captain of the port's order for large merchant vessels to leave port.

Port CEO Capt. John Murray told Florida Today that the gambling ship remained in port during the storm – and could have caused "catastrophic damage" if her mooring lines had parted in the high winds. 

The vessel's captain, Tim Levensaler, maintains that the ship didn't have the speed to outrun the storm, and says that he made the right call to keep her at the dock rather than putting his crew in harm's way. The Victory I's operator, Victory Casino Cruises, could face administrative fines if the USCG finds that it violated any regulations. 

[In an update Thursday, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jason Kling told Florida Today that his office has determined that the Victory I did not violate USCG instructions when she did not leave port.]

Port Canaveral estimates damages

Port Canaveral has reopened for business, with cruise ships coming and going and visitors stopping by its popular Jetty Park. But the storm did cause some damage - less than during Hurricane Matthew, but still enough to cost the port about $3 million in lost revenue and repairs. The port was especially challenged by the loss of its municipal water and power supplies, which made the process of fully restoring operations more challenging than it may have been for some of the port's competitors.