Boat captain sentenced in deadliest maritime disaster in US history

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Scuba diving captain sentenced to 4 years in prison for negligence that killed 34 people. — CNN/File

The captain of a scuba diving boat from California has been sentenced to four years in prison for “seaman manslaughter” after the vessel caught fire in the middle of the ocean killing 34 people, BBC reported.

Jerry Nehl Boylan was found guilty last year, and has been sentenced to 48 months in federal prison for negligence.

According to prosecutors, Boylan failed to conduct safety drills or perform night patrolling. All 33 passengers and one crew member sleeping below deck died due to the ship captains, “unpardonable cowardice”.

Boylan, 70, was one of five crew members to make it off the 75-foot vessel, The Conception, and the first to abandon ship, according to prosecutors.

United States Attorney, Martin Estrada said: “Boylan failed to perform any lifesaving or firefighting activities whatsoever at the time of the fire, even though he was uninjured.”

Adding he said: “If this defendant had only trained and drilled his crew on the firefighting equipment that was on the ship, including hoses, including pumps with a limitless supply of water, if he had trained them to use that equipment, this tragedy could have been avoided.”

The incident took place five years ago in 2019 and has been labelled as the deadliest maritime disaster in recent US history. 

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