The captain of the dive boat Conception has been found guilty of criminal negligence by a US federal jury.
The Conception caught fire and burned down in 2019, leading to the loss of 34 people. The fire was the deadliest maritime disaster in recent US history.
The captain was charged with misconduct or neglect of a ship’s officer. This is a catch-all statute intended to hold those responsible for maritime disasters. While the captain has not been sentenced yet, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that the captain failed to discharge his duties and neglected safety measures. This resulted in the boat burning down entirely while anchored near Santa Cruz Island off the California coast.
Sadly, up to this point in time, the exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined and may never be discovered due to the complete destruction of the vessel.
The captain is expected to be sentenced on February 8th, 2024.