Bill would change maritime liability rules after ship Conception burned off California coast – Press Telegram

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STEFANIE DAZIO

Los Angeles – Members of Congress on Wednesday introduced legislation that would change the rules of maritime liability in the 19th century. Southern California boat catches fire in 2019 He killed 34 people.

The bill updates the 1851 Limitation of Liability Act, under which boat owners can limit their liability to the value of the wreck of the ship. In the case of Inferno’s scuba diving boat Conception, which trapped 33 passengers and a crew member in the banking room below deck, the boat was totally lost.

If the bill passes, the bill will be applied retroactively to the families of victims of conception, officials said. This tragedy was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in recent United States history.

The bill, sponsored by California Democrats Rep. Salud Carbahal and Senator Diane Finestein, means owners of small passenger vessels can be held liable for marine accidents. Owners are required to compensate victims and their families, regardless of the value of the boat after the incident.

The law of 1851 was a proven legal operation that was successfully passed by the owners of the Titanic and countless other craft, some as small as jet skis. Originating in England in the 18th century, it was intended to promote the shipping industry.

Carbajal, who represents the region where the design disaster struck, said the 2019 fire helped lawmakers understand how they can help the families of the victims.

“There is nothing to make up for the loss, but at least they will get the fair and equitable compensation they owe,” he told The Associated Press. “The aftermath of this tragedy has revealed it. “

In a statement, Feinstein said the law “does not take into account modern tourism, such as commercial dive boats.”

The Passenger Vessel Association, an industry group, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Under current law, Truth Aquatics and its owners Glen and Dana Fritzler must prove that they were not negligent in the Conception disaster. Even if the captain or crew is officially criticized, Fritzlar and his insurers can avoid paying pennies under the law.

Fritzlar’s proceedings to limit their liability remain pending before the Federal Court. The couple’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Family attorney Jeffrey Goodman said the “long postponed” law might not affect the conception case because Fritzlar doesn’t have a lot of assets to compensate the family. I told AP.

However, Goodman said the bill is more important in a broader sense in holding boat owners and operators accountable.

“The removal of the financial protection provided to them will promote the advancement of maritime security,” he said.

An investigation into the disaster by the National Transportation Safety Board did not identify the cause of the blaze, but the shipowner accused it of insufficient monitoring and said the flames spread quickly because it did not had not posted the night watchman.

Design captain Jerry Boylan pleaded not guilty to a rare federal manslaughter in February. Prosecutors were unable to train crew members, conduct evacuation drills and place night guards on the boats when the fire broke out before Boylan broke out on September 2, 2019, so the safety rules He declares that he did not obey. His case is pending.

After the captain made a panicked call to the Mayday, Boylan and the other four crew members were all sleeping on the deck, but escaped from the flaming boat.

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Associated Press writer Brian Mary contributed to the story.

Bill would change maritime liability rules after ship Conception burned off California coast – Press Telegram Source link Bill would change maritime liability rules after ship Conception burned off California coast – Press Telegram


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