Legal considerations for the Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

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Hoyden

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Whether or not fire during charging lithium batteries is found to be the cause or contributed to the accident, I am hoping that all liveaboards will establish safer charging stations and protocols for lithium battery charging. There are numerous videos about lithium battery fires, aviation has battery rules, and so on.

It has been noted by Wookie that dumping lithium batteries and chargers that were smoking/burning overboard was what worked on his liveaboard for preventing fire spread on more than one occasion.

Charging stations with quick access for dumping smouldering batteries would be a plan. Likewise metal charging boxes, no easily combustible materials nearby like foam cushions. Also no charging anything below decks.

I know any future liveaboard diving for me will include asking specifics about charging batteries.

It would be wise IMO for the liveaboard industry to take charging lithium batteries seriously.

One of the liveaboards that I have been on multiple times has a firm "no electricity use in the bunk areas" policy with an exception for cpap machines - All charging must be done in the designated charging area which is in clear sight of the watch stander posted at the helm. I thought that this was very prudent the first time I saw it. Now it seems like an even better idea.
 

ReefHound

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One of the liveaboards that I have been on multiple times has a firm "no electricity use in the bunk areas" policy with an exception for cpap machines - All charging must be done in the designated charging area which is in clear sight of the watch stander posted at the helm. I thought that this was very prudent the first time I saw it. Now it seems like an even better idea.

That's our policy on the Fling. I'd like to see it expanded to no lithium batteries at all in the bunks - charging or not. There are too many times where the bunk deck is vacant for nearly an hour, like during dives.
 

Wookie

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That's our policy on the Fling. I'd like to see it expanded to no lithium batteries at all in the bunks - charging or not. There are too many times where the bunk deck is vacant for nearly an hour, like during dives.
And THAT is exactly why we prohibited it on the Spree, and I assume Fling as well. At least, we didn't have outlets in the bunks when I was around. When divers are in the water, no one is in the bunk area to check for a runaway charger.
 

drbill

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The stigma now attached to the TA boats cannot be hosed off...

Well, I know of plenty of divers who have enjoyed trips on the Truth Aquatics boats that disagree and will continue to support the boats and the operation. In fact, I'm guessing many will increase their trips in support of what is still a very fine and reputable operation.

One of the saddest aspects of this (besides the tragic loss of life) is that it happened to one of the best dive boat operations on the West Coast.
 

roman50

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I can see court injunction preventing the rest of these boats from operating. I can see USCG revoking their certification making second look at the interpretation of ‘means of exit’. I can see criminal negligence lawsuit involving the owners of the boat for operating the boat that ‘on a facade’ looks as complying with the law but in practice it doesn’t. There will be lot of arguments about deception, misrepresentation and alike. I think it all depends on the imagination of DA. With 34 dead in California waters DA will have quite motivation. Some heads will have to get on the chopping block.
 

kafkaland

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And THAT is exactly why we prohibited it on the Spree, and I assume Fling as well. At least, we didn't have outlets in the bunks when I was around. When divers are in the water, no one is in the bunk area to check for a runaway charger.
How did you accommodate divers who need a CPAP for medical reasons?
 

The Chairman

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How did you accommodate divers who need a CPAP for medical reasons?
He accommodated me just fine. There are hidden outlets, but I was warned by him and then by Mel to not plug another thing in it. Wookie is intimidating enough, but Mel is a Valkyrie. You simply don't cross Mel. She's awesome.
 

Wookie

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How did you accommodate divers who need a CPAP for medical reasons?
We had a single outlet.

I could have wired one in any bunk in about 10 minutes, as every bunk had a junction box in it for the bunk light. But I never had more than 2 CPAP users at a time, so one plugged in directly and one on an extension cord.

The outlet was also for the vacuum cleaner, so the stewardess could clean the cabin.
 

Tesibria

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AP Report v WGAM:

"The FBI is seeking photos and videos related to the fatal boat fire off the California coast that killed 34 people as part of its criminal investigation.

The FBI, Coast Guard and U.S. attorney in Los Angeles are participating in the investigation with other agencies. They want to know if the captain and boat owners followed safety requirements.

***

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says authorities are asking people to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit fbi.gov/boatfire."​

AP Report via KNX Radio:

"LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities conducting a criminal investigation into the deadly scuba diving boat fire that killed 34 people off the coast of Southern California plan to interview previous patrons of the boat company to determine what kind of safety information they were provided during trips, a law enforcement source said.

Investigators will ask the patrons about possible safety violations and what they saw on the boat during their excursions with Truth Aquatics Inc., according to the source, who has knowledge of the evidence collected under search warrants in Santa Barbara.
***"
 
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