On September 2, the Conception dive boat sank off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. The tragedy was the result of an onboard fire, and killed 34 people in California’s deadliest modern maritime tragedy. The owners of the boat, Truth Aquatics Inc., has been heavily criticized following a NTSB preliminary report which indicated that all of the boat’s crew members were asleep when the fire started, in violation of federal regulations which required the Conception to have a night watchman.
In the wake of the tragedy Truth Aquatics Inc. has announced that it will temporarily suspend operations. KTLA.com reports that Truth Aquatics Inc. made the announced on the company’s Facebook page. The announcement states that the company intends to use the time to work with the NTSB and U.S. Coast Guard to make their boats “models of new regulations."
Despite raising the Conception from the seafloor and taking it to a secure location to be reconstructed, much in the way an airplane is reconstructed following an airplane crash, investigators have thus far been unable to identify the cause of the blaze. KTLA reports that investigators have sent parts of the ship to laboratories for additional testing in hopes that these tests will help provide clues as to the cause of the fire.
The owners of the Conception filed a lawsuit within weeks of the ship’s sinking, in an attempt to limit the company’s liability for the dozens of lives lost. We urge families of the victims of the Conception disaster to contact a qualified maritime attorney in order to ensure that justice is served for the loss of their loved ones.