Oct 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

California diving boat captain found responsible for fatal fire

An FBI officer speaking with California police near a Long Beach Police vessel in Santa Barbara, California, in September 2019.
An FBI officer speaking with California police near a Long Beach Police vessel in Santa Barbara, California, in September 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday ruled that Jerry Boylan, the captain of the ship Conception, was at fault for a fire that killed 33 passengers and one crew member in September 2019 after failing to post a roving night watchman aboard the vessel, AP reports.

Why it matters: The fire was one of the deadliest catastrophes in modern U.S. maritime history. Authorities have been unable to determine the cause of the blaze because the boat burned and sank.

  • Officials further held the Coast Guard responsible for failing to enforce that requirement and recommended it build a program to ensure vessel with overnight passengers have watchman.
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