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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 376
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F.S. 376.071
376.071 Discharge contingency plan for vessels.
(1) Any vessel operating in state waters with a storage capacity to carry 10,000 gallons or more of pollutants as fuel or cargo shall maintain an adequate written ship-specific discharge prevention and control contingency plan. Any such vessel shall have on board a “discharge officer,” designated by the contingency plan, who is responsible for training crew members to carry out discharge response efforts required in the contingency plan and coordinating all on-board response efforts in case of a discharge. An adequate plan shall include provisions for on-board response, including notification, verification, pollutant incident assessment, vessel stabilization, discharge mitigation, and on-board discharge containment, in accordance with this chapter, department rules, and the Florida Coastal Pollutant Discharge Contingency Plan. A plan in compliance with the federal requirement for a ship-specific discharge contingency plan shall satisfy the requirements for an adequate ship-specific discharge contingency plan required by this section.
(2)(a) A master of a vessel that violates subsection (1) commits a noncriminal infraction and shall be cited for such infraction. The civil penalty for such an infraction shall be $7,500, except as otherwise provided in this subsection.
(b) A person charged with a noncriminal infraction under this section may:
1. Pay the civil penalty;
2. Post bond equal to the amount of the applicable civil penalty; or
3. Sign and accept a citation indicating a promise to appear before the county court for the county in which the violation occurred or the county closest to the location at which the violation occurred.

The department employee authorized to issue these citations may indicate on the citation the time and location of the scheduled hearing and shall indicate the applicable civil penalty.

(c) A person who willfully refuses to post bond or accept and sign a citation commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(d) After complying with the provisions of subparagraph (b)2. or subparagraph (b)3., a person charged with a noncriminal infraction under this section may:
1. Pay the civil penalty, either by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of receiving the citation; or
2. If the person has posted bond, forfeit the bond by not appearing at the designated time and location.

A person cited for an infraction under this section who pays the civil penalty or forfeits the bond has admitted the infraction and waives the right to a hearing on the issue of commission of the infraction. Such admission may not be used as evidence in any other proceedings.

(e) A person who elects to appear before the county court or who is required to appear waives the limitations of the civil penalty specified in paragraph (a). The court, after a hearing, shall make a determination as to whether an infraction has been committed. If the commission of the infraction is proved, the court shall impose a civil penalty of $7,500.
(f) At a hearing under this subsection, the commission of a charged infraction must be proved by the greater weight of the evidence.
(g) A person who is found by the hearing official to have committed an infraction may appeal that finding to the circuit court.
(h) A person who has not posted bond and who fails either to pay the civil penalty specified in paragraph (a) within 30 days after receipt of the citation or to appear before the court commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 15, ch. 90-54; s. 9, ch. 92-113; s. 4, ch. 96-263; s. 17, ch. 2012-88; s. 11, ch. 2020-158.