33 CFR 1.07-10 - Reporting and investigation.
(a) Any person may report an apparent violation of any law, regulation, or order that is enforced by the Coast Guard to any Coast Guard facility. When a report of an apparent violation has been received, or when an apparent violation has been detected by any Coast Guard personnel, the matter is investigated or evaluated by Coast Guard personnel. Once an apparent violation has been investigated or evaluated, a report of the investigation may be sent to the District Commander or other designated official in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section or a Notice of Violation under § 1.07-11 may be given to the party by an issuing officer.
(b) Reports of any investigation conducted by the Coast Guard or received from any other agency which indicate that a violation may have occurred may be forwarded to a District Commander or other designated official for further action. This is normally the District Commander of the District in which the violation is believed to have occurred, or the District in which the reporting unit or agency is found. The report is reviewed to determine if there is sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case. If there is insufficient evidence, the case is either returned for further investigation or closed if further action is unwarranted. The case is closed in situations in which the investigation has established that a violation did not occur, the violator is unknown, or there is little likelihood of discovering additional relevant facts. If it is determined that a prima facie case does exist, a case file is prepared and forwarded to the Hearing Officer, with a recommended action. A record of any prior violations by the same person or entity, is forwarded with the case file.