Scuba Dive NIGHTMARE – 34 KILLED Aboard!

A federal judge was set to sentence a scuba dive boat captain on Thurdsay, following his conviction for criminal negligence. The charges were levied after a fire aboard the captain’s vessel nearly five years ago, which killed 34 people.

The September 2019 blaze was the most lethal maritime mishap in recent American history, and prompted regulatory changes, congressional action, and a number of ongoing lawsuits.

The Captain, Jerry Boylan, was convicted last year on one count of neglect or misconduct by a ship’s officer. The statute under which he was charge dates to before the Civil War, and is known colloquially as “seaman’s slaughter.” It was deigned to hold the captains and crew of steamboats responsible for disasters that occurred on their watch.

Boylan, who faces up to ten years in prison, is appealing the ruling. The defense, in the meantime, has asked the judge to hand down a sentence of five-years probation, with three of those to be spent under house arrest.

In their sentencing memo, Boylan’s attorneys contended that, while the loss of life was tragic and startling, there was no ill intent whatsoever on the part of their client. Mr. Boylan, they said, lives under a heavy load of remorse, trauma, and grief as a consequent of the deaths of his crew and his passengers.

Boylan’s ship, The  Conception, caught fire while it was anchored near Santa Crus Island, some twenty-five miles south of Santa Barbara. The blaze engulfed the boat in the pre-dawn hours near the end of a three day excursion. The boat sank less than 100 feet from shore. Thirty-three passengers and crew were trapped in a bunk room belowdecks as the fire raged out of control. Casualties included a freshly hired deck hand who had dreamed her whole life of a job at sea, an environmental scientist whose resume included stints in Antarctica, a Singaorean data scientist, a couple on an adventure holiday, and married couple with their three daughters.