Guilty Verdict for Captain in California Maritime Tragedy

“Guilty Verdict for Captain in California Maritime Tragedy”Jerry Boylan, 69, was convicted last year by a jury of “seaman’s manslaughter” following a tragic maritime disaster off the California coast.

Prosecutors alleged that Boylan neglected crucial safety protocols, such as failing to maintain a night patrol and conduct required fire drills aboard the vessel.

The incident, one of California’s deadliest maritime tragedies, claimed the lives of all 33 passengers and one crew member who were sleeping below deck.

US Attorney Martin Estrada sharply criticized Boylan, stating, “This ship captain’s unpardonable cowardice led to the deaths of 34 lives on Labor Day 2019,” after the jury’s guilty verdict in Los Angeles.

Estrada emphasized that Boylan neglected his duties as a ship officer by not engaging in any lifesaving or firefighting efforts during the fire, despite being unharmed himself.

The fire ignited in the early morning hours while the Conception, a commercial scuba diving vessel, was anchored in Platt’s Harbour near Santa Cruz Island during a Labor Day weekend diving expedition.

Following the fire, the captain and crew members escaped by jumping into the water and swimming to another nearby vessel. They explained to investigators that the intensity of the flames prevented them from rescuing those trapped in the passenger quarters.

Recently, a federal judge denied the former captain’s request for a new trial.

Among the victims were five members of a California family celebrating a birthday: Michael Quitasol, his daughters Evan, Nicole, and Angela Quitasol, and his wife, Fernisa Sison.

Additional victims included marine biologist Kristy Finstad, physics teacher Scott Chan and his daughter Kendra, and Patricia Beitzinger and Neal Baltz, a couple from Arizona.

Boylan faced a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.