The U.S. Coast Guard issued multiple citations to U.S. Virgin Islands yacht captain Ryan Bane after he reported his British girlfriend, Sarm Heslop, missing earlier this month – including for alleged obstruction of a boarding.
Bane has not allowed police onto his 47-foot catamaran, the Siren Song, as part of the missing person investigation into Heslop’s whereabouts.
But the Coast Guard reached his vessel as part of an attempted search and rescue mission after Bane reported her disappearance.
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“As part of the search and rescue effort, the Coast Guard went aboard the vessel to interview and gather information from the reporting source,” Lt. Cmdr. Jason Neiman, a USCG spokesman, said Wednesday. “On a second occasion that afternoon, the Coast Guard went aboard the vessel to conduct a standard recreational vessel safety check to ensure proper equipment and compliance with applicable rules and regulations for vessel type and operation.”
He said the second visit was routine – but Bane was cited for multiple violations, including allegedly blocking the crew from inspecting the Siren Song’s interior spaces.
The USCG’s involvement was limited to the search and rescue mission, Neiman said. But the routine inspection found alleged safety equipment violations, and authorities said Bane failed to provide proper documents.
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Heslop was last seen in public at a bar with Bane around 10 p.m. on March 7. He reported her missing at around 2:30 a.m. on March 8, according to local police.
They said they told him to contact the USCG for a search and rescue mission, which he reportedly did about 10 hours later.
Although he is not a suspect or person of interest, he retained a high-powered local lawyer and refused to allow police to search his boat.
The Coast Guard has since suspended its extensive search for Heslop in the water, and local police have launched a separate missing person investigation.
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Police said they were looking into several locations where Heslop may have visited shortly before her disappearance. The FBI is assisting.