Captain charged with Manslaughter

hilltop

lurking in the shallows
Jan 1, 2010
1,585
767
sb 805
Name
hilltop
Boat
sold, pangas, Intrepid, and diggin the RRIII
They had not a "watchmen"........... it certainly was the saddest day in my local harbor in my 50 years of life. Full circle coming around.
 
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O'side yakker

Well-Known "Member"
Mar 5, 2007
95
113
Oceanside, CA
Name
James
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Malibu Kayak
My recollection is that the fire started from a bunch of lithium batteries all plugged into the same outlets, dive lights and camera batteries. Etc...
Maybe I'm wrong here, but I would have a hard time making a judgement if that is true. If it was a galley fire that would be clearly different.
Prayers for the victims and their families.
 
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kevina

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 10, 2006
2,306
1,721
93
redondo beach
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kev
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25' aqua sport
30 counts of manslaughter is a serious crime. He faces life in prison at his age.
He should tell the Judge how much he makes as a skipper for All the hrs he puts in, Maybe the Judge will feel sorry for him and give him probation, 67 Years old and they want to throw the book at him, If he has a clean track record and no other C.G violations on his record, They should take that into account.
 

swami 805

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Mar 9, 2016
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Bill
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sunk it
My bet is he negotiates a plea, would be a huge risk going to trial. If your best argument is a night watchmen might not have been able to evacuate the passengers you're pretty much screwed
 
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Larmo

Strip it. Mend it. Hit it!
Jul 11, 2004
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Larry
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Your Cabo
It never ceases to amaze me how many BD Stans remain in denial about the culpability of this captain for the needless death and suffering of 34 people who were burned alive while under his care.

He is going to prison for the rest of his life. That is an unequivocal message to the entire industry. If your job is the safe transport of passengers at sea, which it is, that job had better be taken seriously If you want to remain a free man.

It is not a defense that the vessel was inspected and passed. The sole responsibility for the seaworthiness of the vessel is on the owner and captain. The manning of the vessel is as critical to its seaworthiness as the soundness of its hull.

Sport boat captains who fall asleep while on watch will now risk going to prison if someone is killed. That’s not a bad thing.
 

Larmo

Strip it. Mend it. Hit it!
Jul 11, 2004
1,395
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San Diego
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Larry
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Your Cabo
He should tell the Judge how much he makes as a skipper for All the hrs he puts in, Maybe the Judge will feel sorry for him and give him probation, 67 Years old and they want to throw the book at him, If he has a clean track record and no other C.G violations on his record, They should take that into account.
All of those factors are taken into account during sentencing. They are not a defense to the charges themselves.
 

Larmo

Strip it. Mend it. Hit it!
Jul 11, 2004
1,395
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San Diego
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Larry
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Your Cabo
If the fire blocked the only entrance and exit how could anyone have prevented this? Ever do a night watch on a vessel? Anyone would be looking for lights that might be boats or floatsom not a fire.
Anyone who does a night watch on anchor that doesn’t include walking in and out of the galley, where you would observe fire, walking the deck, where you would smell smoke, opening the hatch to inspect the bilges, and looking Into the engine room to inspect the genie, among other things, isn’t doing a proper watch.

Looking out the wheelhouse window for lights and flotsam isn’t much of a watch.
 

Yellowtail Dan

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 10, 2006
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Roseville Ca
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Dan
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Excel, American Angler
As much as it pains me to agree with Larmo I have to. It's the Captains boat and his job AND responsibility to make sure the crew is trained and all safety precautions followed which included a night watch. He failed on all counts an people died on his watch because of it.

If nothing else the only good that comes from this is maybe industry standards improve on all counts.

My Thoughts and Prayers are with the victims and their families. They deserved much better
 

Lake

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 31, 2003
2,265
2,467
Visalia, CA
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Blaine Lake
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none
I personally disagree that a night watchman would have prevented this, although my understanding is they didn’t have one and will likely pay for it with jail time and heavy payouts. A night watchman has a very specific list of things to do, and it includes all of the things Larmo mentioned. It’s very possible he could have made his round through the galley and after his pass a lithium battery exploded. With multiple batteries plugged into each outlet, as was surmised, and depending on location in regards to the stairway, a devastating fire could have happened too fast to save those downstairs.
I do know that all of the rest of the boats on the coast are very aware of what happened and are taking it serious. The Mission Belle skipper was saying how wooden hulls have had their insurance significantly increased. The long range boats have definitely made known the escape hatches from below, and left them accessible. They also strongly request you don’t leave your devices plugged in where they’re not under direct observation. Tough and sorry lesson for everyone.
 
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Bill W

tunaholic
Jan 12, 2006
5,615
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Chino Hills, Ca.
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Bill Walsh
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Red Rooster
Sad but inevitable. Fits the Captain’s responsibility. If it is possible to happen, it will as all accidents that happen at sea. CG Regulations to follow...
 

NaClAddict

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Jul 18, 2008
200
162
torrance
Name
Greg
Boat
22 glasstron
They were at anchor. I would think a watchman would notice a fire before it fully engulfed the galley and blocked the exits. It was not an explosion. I have read most of the NTSB reports. It sure sounds like negligence to me. Of course there was no malicious intent, but the fact remains that these people put their lives in the captain’s hands and the captain failed them.
Have you seen a boat go up? Lithium batteries? Watch can’t be every where. Never really see them in the bunks. The idea of a dedicated watch is nice but they’re usually multitasking.
 

effigy

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Jul 18, 2007
861
657
Oregon
Name
Mark
Boat
Which one? Too many....
A prior outcome of “seaman’s manslaughter” case:


Article on the statute:

 
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Done_Deal

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Sep 10, 2004
575
247
Santa Monica
mysite.verizon.net
Name
Joe
Boat
19' Home Built
Ok. Enlighten me then.
If it can be shown that the owners knew or should have known that the captain was acting in a way that was likely to cause death or injury then the owners could be found to be criminally negligent.
 

gb58

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Nov 10, 2006
161
156
vista,ca
Name
greg braun
Boat
none
I agree. But It is stated that he was responsible to maintain a person awake while on anchor or underway, In which he required his crew neither of the two. If he did and the employee happened to fall asleep, He probably wouldn't of been charged the way he was. I hope this will make a statement for other Captains that elect not to have a person on watch. Call them roverman or what ever there called? In my book it's a deck watch. If they would of had a deck watch, This would of never happened, Unless He/She fell asleep.
i assumed all sport boats would have a crew member on watch at all times. anchors can drag and they were close to an island
 
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kevina

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Sep 10, 2006
2,306
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redondo beach
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kev
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25' aqua sport
All Captains are responsible for crew and passengers alike , thats the law , its not one I would always on but it is , what about coast guard inspections ? They only seem to get involed when theres a Tragedy at sea , it`ll be interesting to see the out come I too belive the owners should be held accountable as well
I personally disagree that a night watchman would have prevented this, although my understanding is they didn’t have one and will likely pay for it with jail time and heavy payouts. A night watchman has a very specific list of things to do, and it includes all of the things Larmo mentioned. It’s very possible he could have made his round through the galley and after his pass a lithium battery exploded. With multiple batteries plugged into each outlet, as was surmised, and depending on location in regards to the stairway, a devastating fire could have happened too fast to save those downstairs.
I do know that all of the rest of the boats on the coast are very aware of what happened and are taking it serious. The Mission Belle skipper was saying how wooden hulls have had their insurance significantly increased. The long range boats have definitely made known the escape hatches from below, and left them accessible. They also strongly request you don’t leave your devices plugged in where they’re not under direct observation. Tough and sorry lesson for everyone.
Usually the deck watch person is sitting in the galley, Bull shiting with customers or watching T.V.
 

Hooops

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Nov 26, 2005
3,867
1,635
46
Huntington Harbour
Name
Hoops
Boat
17ft Whaler Montauk - "TYFISH"
This captain is not going to prison for life - just an educated guess...
 
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sickcat

Silverback
Aug 5, 2003
3,504
1,529
64
LA
Name
Kerry
Boat
Yellow spot
My recollection is that the fire started from a bunch of lithium batteries all plugged into the same outlets, dive lights and camera batteries. Etc...
Maybe I'm wrong here, but I would have a hard time making a judgement if that is true. If it was a galley fire that would be clearly different.
Prayers for the victims and their families.
They suspect that the fire started due to battery charging. The USCG came out with a bulletin warning to watch battery charging and use of extension cords among other things shortly after it happened. Unlikely they will ever prove battery charging was the cause with 100% certainty.

The liability is not with the cause of the fire but the Captain's failure to post a watch and adequately train the crew to deal with emergency situations.
 

O'side yakker

Well-Known "Member"
Mar 5, 2007
95
113
Oceanside, CA
Name
James
Boat
Malibu Kayak
They suspect that the fire started due to battery charging. The USCG came out with a bulletin warning to watch battery charging and use of extension cords among other things shortly after it happened. Unlikely they will ever prove battery charging was the cause with 100% certainty.

The liability is not with the cause of the fire but the Captain's failure to post a watch and adequately train the crew to deal with emergency situations.
Agree with you.
But if it goes to a jury, the defense only needs to sway one juror with reasonable doubt.
That's all I was saying.
 

tony38

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Mar 30, 2014
390
99
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tony
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none yet
Is this the boat where only the crew and Captain survive?