Charter yacht owner charged after passenger killed by propellers off Monument Island

Yacht captain's trial scheduled for Sept. 4


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A charter yacht owner was arrested this week and charged in connection with an incident off Monument Island that left one man dead, U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg announced Friday in a news released.

Laurent Marc-Antoine Jean Maubert-Cayla is charged with misconduct or neglect of a ship officer that resulted in the death of an individual.

According to court records, Maubert-Cayla, originally of France, is a part-owner of the Miami Vice, a 91-foot performance yacht, which is offered for charters.

Federal prosecutors said Maubert-Cayla hired Mauricio Alvarez, 49, in November 2017 to drive the yacht during charters, although he knew that Alvarez did not have a valid U.S. Coast Guard license.

In fact, Alvarez was cited by the Coast Guard in March for operating a charter without the appropriate license, prosecutors said.

A month later, on April 1, a group of friends chartered the yacht and Alvarez drove it at a high rate of speed and beached it at Monument Island, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Alvarez did not check to ensure that all his passengers were out of the water when it was time to leave, and he started the yacht’s 4500 horsepower engines and accelerated them in reverse.

The victim, Raul Pigueiras Menendez, 25, of Hialeah, was swimming directly behind the yacht and was killed by the propellers, authorities said.

Maubert-Cayla remains behind bars and has a bond hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Alvarez was previously charged in the case with misconduct or neglect of a ship officer that resulted in the death of an individual.

His trial is expected to begin on Sept. 4. 

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