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The owners of a Bering Sea crab boat turned sea-faring strip club are facing federal charges for allegedly dumping sewage into an Alaska harbor.
Darren Byler and Kimberly Riedel Byler, proprietors of The Wild Alaskan, have been indicted on three counts of piping human waste from the floating bar's bathrooms into St. Herman Harbor in Kodiak, violating the federal Refuse Act.
Low Morals on the High Seas
The former crabbing boat has been in trouble with the law seemingly since its inception as a floating strip club. As Fox News reports, the Coast Guard previously shut down the nude bar because a water taxi that ferried customers to the boat was reportedly overloaded. And the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board revoked the boat's booze license because of complaints from Kodiak bar owners that the club's "common carrier" license had inadequate oversight.
Other infractions noted by the Coast Guard included an expired personal location beacon, expired inflatable devices on life rafts, and nonfunctioning navigation lights.
Leaving a Floater
In this latest round of legal trouble, the floating strip club is accused of dumping human bathroom waste into the harbor, rather than releasing it outside the proscribed 3-mile barrier. The boat's owners are also accused of lying to the Coast Guard regarding the waste disposal.
Byler contests all the charges, saying the boat, described elsewhere as "a gigantic floating bathtub trimmed with Christmas lights," had ample sewage storage on board. For now, the den of sin's doors are closed, but Byler plans to reopen when the weather heats back up.
A federal statute, 33 U.S.C. Section 1414b, prohibits dumping sewage sludge into the ocean. The penalty for pumping waste into the sea is based on the amount -- the fines are $600 per dry ton, plus percentages for past violations and the amount of time since the statute was passed. News reports are unclear on the exact amount of bathroom waste the floating strip club is accused of dumping.