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Dive boat fire

Discussion in 'RD's Lounge' started by Blackmagic94, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. TPC

    TPC Wrenching Dad

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    I drink a few times a month at the Rudder Room in Channel Islands and it's a regular hang out for commercial crews and captains of all types of vessels and jobs.
    The Captains are always conscious and vocal about tests and are tested frequently.

    The ones I know will only drink after they get off shift on the last day of the shift and only then. Days off until they return to work they don't drink at all, no vices. Clean, legit test every time.
    No question IMHO, an eye opener that testing is every day, all the time, any time.
     
  2. boatpi

    boatpi Well-Known Member

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    Front page story in many newspapers, "Boat was fire trap per experts, yet it passed inspections." Note my many previous posts.
     
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  3. FreeBird236

    FreeBird236 Well-Known Member

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    Won't dispute that, but looks basically like every fishing boat I've ever been on.
     
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  4. stephenkatsea

    stephenkatsea Well-Known Member

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    The drug and alcohol testing of the crews of USCG Certified vessels is unannounced and random. But, not every day. When hired you are told upfront that you don't have to take the tests, but if you refuse you are immediately fired. I really disliked the crew of the Conception being called cowards early on by some reports without any proof what so ever. (1) If the roaming patrol watchman failed to carry out their assigned tasks, i.e. fell asleep, there is fault. (2) If the captain failed to designate a roaming patrol night watchman, there is fault. But IMHO, that doesn't make any of them cowards. Regardless of any of the prior, this is a tragedy beyond belief which the Captain and every one of the surviving crewmen will have to carry with them for the rest of their lives. They remain in my thoughts.
     
  5. lbhsbz

    lbhsbz Well-Known Member

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    There are situations that occur for which there is no good outcome...the choice is simply bad or worse. I cannot imagine what any of the families or surviving crew is going through right now....all the “what if”s.

    Just shitty
     
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  6. rrrr

    rrrr Well-Known Member

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    That's obvious to everyone, and didn't take any special knowledge to observe.

    But every dwelling occupied by humans, whether one person, the 100 killed in the 2003 Station nightclub fire, or the 492 killed in the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire, becomes a fire trap when flames and smoke block the exits.
     
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  7. 4Waters

    4Waters Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget the MGM Grand fire in 1980 that killed 85.
     
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  8. TPC

    TPC Wrenching Dad

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    I know it’s random and not everyday.
    It’s an anyday potential that they keep on their mind everyday
     
  9. rrrr

    rrrr Well-Known Member

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    This is a video of The Station nightclub fire, taken by a TV station employee. In 4 minutes, just 240 seconds later, everyone still inside the building was dead from smoke inhalation. I imagine those on the Conception didn't live any longer than that.

    Burning plastics produce concentrations of cyanide, among other deadly gases.

    .

     
  10. boatpi

    boatpi Well-Known Member

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    Major issue is, and one o mentioned earlier is the Inadequate regulations obviously devised by the government for these boats and now a catastrophe occurs because they want regulated enough to prevent such a tragedy. Fires occur, that will never be eliminated , but a safe notification, alarms, sensors, extinguishers and an escape route is necessary. Learn from aviation.
     
  11. 4Waters

    4Waters Well-Known Member

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    One thing that most people don't understand (I know that you do) is that the government is reactive not proactive. They could have been told 1000 times that the escape hatch was in a bad place and exited into the wrong room but they won't do anything until something happens.
     
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  12. rrrr

    rrrr Well-Known Member

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    In spite of much experience and expense, otherwise survivable air carrier crashes, including takeoffs and landings, result in the deaths of many passengers and crew because of post incident fires and smoke. The 1983 lavatory fire on Air Canada Flight 797, a DC-9, resulted from inadequate emergency response from the flight attendants and pilots. When the plane finally landed 29 minutes later, 23 passengers still attempting to exit the aircraft were killed when the fuselage was breached by fire and an oxygen fed flashover occurred. There are many more examples.

    Maybe galleys in boats like the Conception should be required to have dry chemical extinguishing systems located above cooking surfaces, like restaurants. Maybe that's already the law. I don't know.

    But let's be realistic about this.

    If you watch the Station nightclub fire video I posted above and look at the amount of deadly smoke generated in less than a minute, it illustrates what I believe made the loss of life inevitable on the Conception. Smoke detectors, which were installed and presumably functioning (we will never know differently), were of little value in notifying the passengers of the severity of the fire and that they had just seconds to escape.

    You wouldn't immediately jump up from sleep in a curtained bunk and bolt towards the exit in an unfamiliar space rapidly filling with black smoke. Unfortunately, the first reaction is to grab clothing and look for flip flops and valuables like wallets and purses. That consumed precious seconds that allowed the fire to grow.

    Passengers on the Conception were likely awakened by shrieking smoke alarms, shouts, the presence of smoke and flames blocking the only recognizable exit from the space, and the press of many bodies all attempting to get out at once. There's no doubt it was a chaotic, panic filled scene. .

    Before the passengers could gather their bearings, thick smoke in a dark, unfamiliar space made it impossible to locate the exits, and its poisonous effects rendered the victims unconscious in a period spanning seconds, not minutes. Even before the lights failed, they were doomed.

    The boat was constructed from fiberglass and fitted out with wood paneling and bunks. The seating areas and mattresses were upholstered with foam, covered by vinyl, and carpeted with synthetic fibers. This was a collection of flammable materials that produced huge amounts of toxic smoke and flashed over into a roaring fire when dining area windows shattered from the heat and fed the fire with oxygen.

    None of us, with the possible exception of firefighters, can visualize the rapidity of how quickly this happened.

    The sad fact is that no existing occupancy, including a dive or fishing boat, can be properly defended against all fire risks. They can only be mitigated, reduced to an acceptable level based upon previous experience and economic considerations. That's an inescapable fact. Economically modifying an older existing boat to one that will automatically fight and extinguish a large escalating fire fed with flammable materials is not possible. The cost to do so would far exceed the worth of the vessel and amount of money a small charter operation generates.

    Given the number of sleeping passengers, the size of the space, architectural possibilities, and the manner in which the fire started and escalated, more exits almost certainly would not have prevented all loss of life. But we'll never know.

    There are many kinds of human activities that are safely performed daily for years without a seemingly random confluence of events making them deadly. Commercial air travel is the most obvious example.

    I am deeply distressed and saddened by the tragedy of the Conception. But I also realize that sometimes such events will happen, no matter what laws and regulations exist. This does not mean vigilance and care should be abandoned. It merely acknowledges human events are susceptible to such terrible tragedies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  13. Heylam

    Heylam Well-Known Member

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    Wow rrr, very well written!!
     
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  14. Havalife

    Havalife Well-Known Member

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    RRR,
    I feel it's not a respectful way to compare a concert where everyone was awake, to a weekend dive trip with people possibly sleeping.
     
  15. 4Waters

    4Waters Well-Known Member

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    I think you missed @rrrr point, he was just showing how quickly a room fills with toxic smoke.
     
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  16. boatpi

    boatpi Well-Known Member

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    Many good points made rrr. At the very least we can do a better job at installing warning devices , extinguishing systems, just out of our moral responsibility. Just because government does not require it does not mean we as a Society cannot do better.
     
  17. napanutt

    napanutt Connoisseur

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    Gave me goose bumps.
    I remember exactly where I was when I heard about this one. It was on the late news west coast time, same day.
     
  18. rrrr

    rrrr Well-Known Member

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    That's why I said this, among other things. I wasn't making a comparison at all.

    You wouldn't immediately jump up from sleep in a curtained bunk and bolt towards the exit in an unfamiliar space rapidly filling with black smoke. Unfortunately, the first reaction is to grab clothing and look for flip flops and valuables like wallets and purses. That consumed precious seconds that allowed the fire to grow.

    Passengers on the Conception were likely awakened by shrieking smoke alarms, shouts, the presence of smoke and flames blocking the only recognizable exit from the space, and the press of many bodies all attempting to get out at once. There's no doubt it was a chaotic, panic filled scene. .
     
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  19. ONE-A-DAY

    ONE-A-DAY Well-Known Member

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    Good friend is with Providence fire, he worked that fire, messed him up pretty good for a bunch of years after what he saw.
     
  20. DragDad

    DragDad Well-Known Member

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    The hatch up front was not conducive to any kind of a mass escape. Sounds now like the fire started in the galley / mess area from battery chargers. I was wrong about propane, because I saw the BBQ information.
    This is what the crew is saying still. Lots of Lipo and Lithium battery chargers plugged in. Lipo batteries go boom in a big way, resembles a magnesium fire. Really bad. So much speculation still.. The NTSB says a report withing two weeks and a final report within 2 years. God such a baddeal. All my prayers this week have been for the families...
     
  21. DragDad

    DragDad Well-Known Member

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    I th
    I think the industry is in for a huge wake up call on this one. It's sad for so many reasons. Costs will rise, sales will fall.... all pales in comparison to 34 funerals. :(
     
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  22. Taboma

    Taboma Well-Known Member

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    Action: Tragic event = Reaction: Code revisions, additional safety measures, increased and more vigilant enforcement.
    Doesn't matter if it's a child's toy, transportation or an entire building industry, it unfortunately always begins with serious injury or death.

    One cost equates to another. We recoil at the price of new cars, yet so much of that cost is for our own protection. The same can be said for the entire construction industry, from increased worker job site safety to all the various protective devices in our newer homes. Sprinkler systems in new homes, specialized roof vents in fire prone areas, smoke and CO monitoring, even air quality monitoring and fans so we can breath in our new tightly sealed energy efficient homes and buildings.

    Certainly product innovation attempts to lobby for change, but we're forced to consider if it's for safety or profit. Technology often provides additional safety, just as it also adds the potential of additional risk.

    This tragedy raises the issue of the potential dangers of Lithium type batteries. Those same batteries that carry the universal manufacturer disclaimer of "Do not charge unattended". Oh, you mean those Laptop, cell phone, personal entertainment device, toys and possibly vehicle batteries currently charging while we sleep in our homes ?

    50 some years ago my father was a co-author of various chapters of the NFPA/National Electrical Code. He shared a large volume that was a research study compiled by UL labs, this research was a national case by case study regarding Swimming Pool Deaths caused by electrocution. It was staggering to read how many people and almost entire families had perished in pools, either initially or while attempting rescue. Because up until this study, these stories were so wide spread, most buried in some local news article, code revisions and technology were slow to evolve. Finally this alarming study brought change.
    I can say, after reading it, I was NEVER the first person to jump in the pool :eek::eek::eek:

    Now news is swift and sweeping, this being a horrible wake up call. :(:(
     
  23. stephenkatsea

    stephenkatsea Well-Known Member

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    It has been brutally said, “New regulations are often written in the blood of past victims”. Unfortunately, this seems to be true.
     
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  24. RiverDave

    RiverDave In it to win it

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    I am wondering how an conclusive investigation of what caused the fire or where the fire even started can even be done?

    The entire top of the boat is gone. ???


    I’m not one for more regulations but that escape hatch deal was a total joke.


    As for the cause of the fire itself, we are all boaters. There are so many different ways a fire can start on something like this you couldn’t count them on both hands.

    The lithium battery thought process resonates quite a bit with me though... (Not saying that was the cause of this, just something that needs to be addressed) and I am wondering at what point are people going to look at those things and change technology or at least start with some real safety precautions regarding them.

    I am allowed to take my drone and all my extra batteries on an airline. If you watch a video of one of those batteries going up they are next to impossible to contain and they burn crazy hot..
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  25. coolchange

    coolchange Lower level functionary

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    Another point I thought about.
    Think about how in the middle of the night in your home, you get jolted from your sleep. Sometimes it takes me awhile to even figure out where I am.
    On a multi-day boat. Many are sea sick from the get-go. Then do four or five dives. Then be up partying with your friends, drinking playing cards etc. Go to bed late. And probably not sleep.
    Then get up the next day. Do another four or five dives. Start partying and drinking again, playing cards etc.
    Now you have people that are extremely tired, hungover, and several probably severely dehydrated.
    At 3 in the morning, with no risk of fire, if you went down there in the dark, and started yelling get out, get out , it would still take them forever to get out.
     
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  26. BajaT

    BajaT Well-Known Member

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    California boat fire: Criminal probe launched with focus on possible safety lapses, sources say

    By Richard Winton, Matthew Ormseth and Mark Puente, Los Angeles Times
    46 mins ago
    SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the Southern California boat fire last week that killed 34 people, with a focus on whether the operation violated maritime safety regulations, two law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

    [​IMG]© NTSB/Los Angeles Times/TNS NTSB Board Member Jennifer Homendy and USCG Capt. Jason Neubauer tour the berthing area of small passenger…
    A team of federal investigators from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Coast Guard have spent the last two days searching the Santa Barbara Harbor office of the Conception operator, Truth Aquatics Inc., retrieving records and also examining another boat owned by the firm.


    The probe is being led by the U.S. Coast Guard criminal investigative group and being overseen by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, according to one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment publicly.

    While the cause of the deadly Sept. 2 blaze off the coast of Santa Cruz Island remains undetermined, investigators have been looking into possible shortcomings in the way the Conception operated.

    The fire broke out during a weekend diving expedition, trapping the victims, who were sleeping below deck. Five crew members who were above deck at the time were able to escape and said the fire was too intense to get anyone else out.

    Law enforcement sources told The Times last week that a preliminary investigation into the Conception boat fire had suggested serious safety deficiencies aboard the vessel, including the lack of a “roaming night watchman” who is required to be awake and alert passengers in the event of a fire or other dangers. The probe also has raised questions about whether the crew was adequately trained and whether passengers received a complete safety briefing, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not have approval to comment publicly about the case.

    [​IMG]© Ventura County Fire Dept./Los Angeles Times/TNS The Conception boat fire killed 34 people, authorities say.
    One of the sources said that when surviving crew members were interviewed, some suggested they didn’t have adequate training to handle a major emergency on board. Documents the investigators obtained have underscored those concerns, the source said.

    Investigators are trying to determine whether the Conception was in compliance with the vessel’s certification requirements, which outlined a series of safety regulations it must follow. Prosecutors would ultimately have to decide whether any shortcomings amount to criminal negligence.

    A federal law dubbed “seaman’s manslaughter” was used last year in Missouri by federal prosecutors to charge a duck boat captain and two others in connection with the loss of 17 lives when the amphibious craft capsized in a storm . In that case, it was Coast Guard investigators who built the case for criminal negligence. The captain is accused of failing to assess the weather, steer the vessel appropriately and prepare the passengers for abandoning ship.

    According to two sources, the Conception is now slated to be raised from the ocean floor off Santa Cruz Island and brought to a dock in Ventura, where the ATF’s most experienced team of fire experts will examine the wreck to determine the cause of the fire.

    During the questioning with National Transportation Safety Board investigators, the crew has speculated that the fire began in the seating area of the galley.

    “The galley area was engulfed in flames,” NTSB commissioner Jennifer Homendy said, recounting what the crew members told investigators. “They tried to enter through the double doors but couldn’t get in because of the flames. They tried to access the galley from the front through the windows, but the windows wouldn’t open.”

    A boater who helped the surviving crew members that morning said one of them thought the fire started in the galley, where cellphones and cameras had been plugged in to charge overnight.
     
  27. rrrr

    rrrr Well-Known Member

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    Without any real evidence to the contrary, the feds have conducted late night raids and made statements which will result in the destruction of the boat operator's business and lives. Their longtime record of compliance with safety requirements and safe operation of boats for participants in a potentially dangerous sport is cast aside and their reputation is ruined.

    There is no presumption of innocence, and no due process. The government's statements and innuendo by anonymous sources are tainting the pool of potential jurors, making fair trials impossible and exposing the company to ruinous liability.

    If it is discovered the company willingly broke the law, then punish them. But this release of rumors and unsupported accusations is bullshit.
     
  28. stephenkatsea

    stephenkatsea Well-Known Member

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    Some of the reporting from the news media is ridiculous. This investigation began as a potential crime investigation. The warrant for papers and documents from the owner is standard procedure in an investigation such as this. I believe the owners and crew have NOT refused to cooperate with the investigators in any way. It is just the slime bag press trying to sensationalize this tragedy.
     
  29. 500bbc

    500bbc Well-Known Member

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    You can bet your ass the govt. won't find itself at fault.
    By every account this was a stellar operation and their boats are inspected by the CG once a year. Every single overnight fishing boat I've been on has a meeting in the galley upon departure that everyone must attend to go over safety first then the trip plans. Does anyone here know the exact man on watch regulation? Does he have to be constantly on the move or make a pass at intervals through his watch then monitor the boat and surroundings from the wheel house? What are the different requirements underway as opposed to being on the hook? Stephankatsea?
    I would wager all below could have found the stairs blind folded, I know I could on the boats I've been on, escape hatch on this boat, as pictured, not so much.
     
  30. stephenkatsea

    stephenkatsea Well-Known Member

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    If those vessels extinguishing the flames with their water monitors had began dewatering the ruins at some point, like when it was knocked down and just smoldering, the ruins likely would not have sunk. That certainly would have aided investigation and recovery of the victims. We are taught, in order to maintain vessel stability, if you put the water on to extinguish, you sure as hell better take it off. In the past vessels have turned turtle while on drydock because water used to fight a fire was not removed.
     
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  31. stephenkatsea

    stephenkatsea Well-Known Member

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    When the passenger berthing spaces are occupied there shall be a roaming patrol watch. During daytime operation the crew which is up tending to their tasks suffices. I don't recall if particular tasks of a roaming nightwatch patrolman are spelled out. Those type of things are often covered by the prudent person rules of good seamanship. These are sometimes referred to as General Prudential Rules. That has nothing to do with insurance. It is what would a prudent seaman do. They would be expected to take periodic looks at the engine room, galley, berthing, anchor status if applicable. IOW, roaming the vessel. At night and underway this meant we used a 2 person watch, one on the wheel on the bridge, the other patrolling the boat. Heck, he could even bring coffee up to the Capt or 2nd Ticket tending the wheel on the bridge, but he also was required to roam around the vessel.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  32. 500bbc

    500bbc Well-Known Member

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    Some of the boats I fish on have video monitoring of the salon/galley and deck aft of same. I'm up frequently during the night, sometimes there is a crewman in the salon/galley sometimes not. This sounds so sudden and catastrophic the crewman on watch might have been in the wheel house following regs.
     
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  33. stephenkatsea

    stephenkatsea Well-Known Member

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    IMHO, the government does have some responsibility. The routing and means of emergency escape were approved and inspected by the CG prior to construction, during construction, at completion and at a minimum annually at the CG inspection period. The vessel's crew and owners cannot suddenly be found in violation on this matter due to this tragedy. Truth is it didn't work. But, it was not in violation. It does need to be modified. Assigning and maintaining a roaming patrol is a different possible issue.
     
  34. rrrr

    rrrr Well-Known Member

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    The most famous example of that I recall was the fire and capsizing of the French ocean liner SS Normandie. The fastest and most luxurious liner afloat, it was removed from passenger service at the beginning of WWII, just weeks before Nazi Germany invaded France, and sailed to a berth on the Manhattan passenger piers to be stripped of its furnishing and then towed to a shipyard to be converted to a troop transport. In February 1942, work to ready the ship for conversion was almost complete, when disaster struck.

    During the process, a large pile of life vests located in an area undergoing refit was ignited by a welding torch. FDNY fireboats poured water into the outboard side of the berthed liner for hours. The ship began to list, and because of the fire, electricity to power bilge pumps and counterflooding transfer pumps was not available.

    In spite of attempts by officials and shipwrights to stop it, the fireboats continued to pour water into the vessel until it capsized in the berth. The ship lay on its side, its usefulness to the war effort destroyed, and it was not refloated until August 1943. It was towed to a breaker's yard in October 1946, over a year after the war ended, and it took another two years to break up the the ship for scrap.

    .

    [​IMG]
    .


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  35. nganga

    nganga Well-Known Member

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    What exactly do you do whilst wandering around on a fishing boat, in the middle of the night? I believe this to be a significant "red flag" event. :cool:
     
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  36. monkeyswrench

    monkeyswrench Well-Known Member

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    Putting my anti-government hat on...

    So there may or may not have been an issue with night watch...so let's ruin people's lives before we know.

    Same thing...there may have been some lack of watch on a high profile suicide watch. Nothing to see here, keep moving.

    What happened with the dive boat is a tragedy. It was probably compliant with what they had previously asked. Now that that wasn't enough, the operators are to blame?
     
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  37. Blackmagic94

    Blackmagic94 Well-Known Member

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    No night watch. That is the moral of the story


    The crew members were jerking off on their cell phone while everyone else died of smoke. That is my gut feeling.
     
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  38. 500bbc

    500bbc Well-Known Member

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    Through the galley, on the way to the head, age and prostate issues would leave me in my rack in a personal sudden and catastrophic situation if I didn't extract myself from my rack and get topside post haste.:eek:
     
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  39. 500bbc

    500bbc Well-Known Member

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    What are the CG requirements for watch while on the hook? Part of that watch would be in the wheelhouse, one crewman, while not underway.
     
  40. rrrr

    rrrr Well-Known Member

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    Oh, come on...the last thing this tragedy needs is baseless speculation. It was 3 AM. Do you really think the crew was playing Warcraft?

    Go back up and watch the video of The Station nightclub fire. Once the boat caught fire, there wasn't a damn thing the crew could do to stop it or save the passengers.

    Jeezus.
     
  41. gqchris

    gqchris Well-Known Member

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    My buddy brought up the same thing which freaked me out to think about to.

    Think when we are out in the desert in our rigs camping. When you wake up in the morning, unfamiliar surroundings. It takes you ta minute to "boot up". Now ,multiply that X 1000 with the smoke and panic. I get choked up even thinking about it, especially with family members and loved ones right there close to you but so far away.
     
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  42. Wheeler

    Wheeler Well-Known Member

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    The original dive boat the Truth ran aground on San Clemente Island on their way to San Nicolas. The Capt. fell asleep at the wheel.

    I'm still waiting for my fishing trip on the Maverick.

    6902446347_1545357985_3501324.jpeg
     
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  43. lbhsbz

    lbhsbz Well-Known Member

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    Likely anything but be confined to a 7’ long x3’ wide 2’ tall bunk.
     
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  44. lIQUIDATEDdAMAGES

    lIQUIDATEDdAMAGES Well-Known Member

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    So my parents actually left Newport at 2am headed for Santa Cruz Island the day this happened. I believe it happened sometime around 4am. They got back last night and I talked to my dad today. When they were headed in they were going for a cove about a mile down from the incident. Were chased off by the coast guard and had to go way out and around. They were there for a week and apparently debris were washed up on the shore everywhere. Burned lifejackets, swim fins, etc. They also talked to some other cruisers that were on the island when it happened and actually heard it. Apparently there was a loud explosion about the time of the vhf call or shortly thereafter.

    Shitty deal all around and not trying to add to the speculation. From everything I’ve heard on the boat from the people I know in the industry it was a tightly run ship.

    Godspeed to all involved.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  45. 500bbc

    500bbc Well-Known Member

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    Those bunks are comfortable, good sleeping on a rocking g boat un derway or on the hook.

    Wheeler. You're missing out if you haven't fished the Maverick yet.:D:D
     
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  46. Wheeler

    Wheeler Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, rub it in! Gino keeps talking about it but things keep changing. :(

    My first time on a dive boat was with Roy Houser and the Truth as a ride along. My first actual dive was on the Maverick in July of '70 with Roger Hess at the helm.
     
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  47. 500bbc

    500bbc Well-Known Member

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    Ask him.for the top bunk when you board. :eek::D
     
  48. Wheeler

    Wheeler Well-Known Member

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    Not sure why, but I'll do it. o_O
     
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  49. Flying_Lavey

    Flying_Lavey Dreaming of the lake

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    The escape hatch is there.

    Sent from my LM-G710VM using Tapatalk
     
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  50. Wheeler

    Wheeler Well-Known Member

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    The Maverick is 66' in length and has been reconfigured as a 10 passenger fishing boat. I'm not sure where the escape hatch is now located.

    The Maverick is a fast boat for it's size. I'll try to find a photo of my brother and father water skiing behind it, both on singles.
     
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