Diving boat Conception s demise What we know, what we don't t
Crew, ships and rulesShare this: click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) Click to send to friend (Opens in new window) Click to print (Opens in new window) FBI investigators climb aboard Vision A concept to document its layout and learn more about the deadly pre-dawn fire in Santa Barbara, California, on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. A The fire broke out Monday with a concept of recreational fishing rods anchored off an island off the south coast of California, killing several people. Authorities stopped searching for survivors on Tuesday. (AP Foto / Christian Monterrosa). Authors John Woolfolk [email protected] and Emily DeRuy [email protected] Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: September 6, 2019 at 5:15 pm. UPDATED: September 12, 2019 at 11:44
Due to the loss of 34 lives in a fire consuming a recreational diving boat near the Channel Islands this week, one of the worst passenger ship accidents in modern history is a central question: what could have caused such a rapid and deadly disaster?
There is speculation that overheated lithium batteries have accumulated in the charge of mobile phones and laptops to condense oxygen to prolong dives and power lines.
However, when investigators investigate a working disaster, the focus is on three main areas: crew operations and training, boat design and construction, and regulations governing the operation. Did the team disregard important safety rules? Were escape routes and fire alarms adequate? Why did a federal inspector threaten the inspected ship?
We still have many more questions than answers, said Paul Kamen, a Berkeley marine architect and mechanical engineer who has watched the disaster on board the Santa Barbara-based concept.
Glen Fritzler, owner of Truth Aquatics in Santa Barbara, which runs the aggravated 75-foot Concept, is one of its three boats, saying in a Facebook post that he can't comment because he works with federal investigators. >
We are committed to finding accurate answers as quickly as possible, Fritzler, who was not on board, said in a post. The company forwarded questions to John Davies, who said the fritzlers were heartbroken and tragedy devastated.
Only the captain of the boats and four crew members escaped the tragedy, whose recollections are the key to deciphering what happened. The multi-agency research team has said little about what these team members told them.
The divers on board the concept described the team as a serious and safe professional. However, reports released this week also suggest that they may not have followed important safety measures, such as guarding a crew member at night.
The Los Angeles Times reported that named sources with knowledge of team accounts indicated that none of them were vigilant. After the passengers went diving in the evening, the crew members tidied up the galley, checked that the stove was switched off and that the combustible materials were safely stored, and went around 2:35 to the wheelhouse above the boat's main deck. , the Times reported.
About half an hour later, the crew member said he heard noise, looked down, and saw a fire coming from below the deck, while other crew members had already woken up to the out-of-control fire, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a frantic daytime call to the Coast Guard, boat captain Jerry Boylan said I couldn't breathe. Jennifer Homendy, who oversees the National Transport Safety Council's investigation, said this week that crew members told a harassing story about the flames that blocked their access to the passenger compartment and had to jump out of a burning container.
However, while NTSB investigators said the team did everything they could to help passengers trapped in the cramped sleeping quarters under the main deck, law enforcement agencies are also investigating. Crew members may be prosecuted if the authorities conclude that the deaths were due to their misconduct, negligence or failure to perform their duties.
Sean Tortora, a 25-year-old captain mariner and author of a maritime accident prevention, firefighting, and fire safety training guide, said that smaller craft crews, such as Concept, do not typically conduct extensive maritime firefighting training.
The concept was the second of three ships designed and operated by Santa Barbara charter operator Truth Aquatics, proud to be specifically designed and built for divers.
Although many large direct-water submarines have metal hulls, the concept had a fiberglass-clad wooden structure with tightly packed wooden tanks in the passenger compartment, some stacked to three depths and from end to end.
The concept carried 33 passengers and six crew members, which was less than the 46 that Truth Aquatics said the ship could carry. But New Mexico maritime consultant Gregory T. Davis said that even such a large boat seemed to have a large number of people.
After seeing the 80-foot vision of the Conceptship, which Truth Aquatics says has the same power and similar design, Homendy told the Los Angeles Times that she was plagued by cramped dormitory space and difficulty finding light. switches in the dark. She also said that she was amazed at the difficulty in accessing the access hatch, which required climbing up a ladder and climbing a top bunk to lift the wooden door.
Moreover, both exits from the dormitories led to a galley, a potential source of fire from cooking appliances, fuels, or oils that crew members found full flames. Investigators said the dead were trapped in flames blocking the exit. Authorities believe they died from inhaling the smoke, although the results of the autopsy are pending.
Following the announcement of the disaster, Dianne Feinstein said that it was unthinkable, in accordance with all the safety rules in force today, to have seen a shipwreck as a result of which we saw casualties near the island of Santa Cruz this morning. .
The U.S. Coast Guard inspects such ships annually and found nothing wrong with the last concept inspection in February. The inspection data showed that the company immediately rectified the safety deficiencies when identified during the previous inspections, and according to Davis, none of the available data was worrying.
Homendy noted that the crew member who first noticed the fire did not hear the fire alarm. The concept bedrooms were furnished with what Homendy described as a type of smoke alarm you would buy from a hardware store. However, there was no system that would trigger an alarm in the wheelhouse on deck.
Tortora noted that, unlike large commercial cruise ships, smaller recreational craft such as the Conception do not have to build refractory materials and do not have on board fire-fighting equipment that is not such as fire extinguishers.
Despite the compliance, something went terribly wrong and led to a tragic incident, said Hendrik Keijer, captain and captain of the retiring cruise ship. The recommendations made are of great interest to see what can be done to prevent a recurrence.
Report a bug Policies and Standards Contact Us Tags: California Boat FireEditors OptionsRegional John Woolfolk Reporter John Woolfolk is a reporter for The Bayury News Group based on The Mercury News. In quite New Orleans, he grew up near San Jose. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Journalism and has been a journalist since 1990, covering cities, counties, law enforcement, courts and other general news. He has also worked as an editor since 2013. [email protected] Follow John Woolfolk @ JohnWoolfolk1 Emily DeRuy Reporter Emily DeRuy covers Bay Area News Group housing. Before that, he covered the city of San Jose. Earlier in his career, he wrote about Washington Atlantic Education, D.C. [email protected] Follow Emily DeRuy @Emily DeRuy Order today! All Access digital offer for only 99 cents! blog comments are provided by Disqus
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