After a several week investigation into the cause of the deadly fire that killed 34 people aboard the Conception dive boat, authorities have been unable to determine the cause of the fire.
The blaze broke out September 2 as the Conception was anchored off Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California. KTLA.com reports that investigators from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved in the investigation, which ultimately proved unable to determine the cause of the fire.
Though the investigation has not determined the cause of the fire, KTLA reports that it will continue. Authorities have sent pieces of the boat to a laboratory for additional testing and are also reviewing documents from the boat’s owner, Truth Aquatics Inc. Whatever the ultimate cause of the blaze, authorities area ultimately expected to rule out arson as a possible cause.
The Conception’s owner has been criticized for not ensuring that a night watchman remained awake during the night that the fire began. Federal regulations require that at least one crew member stay away to keep watch on boats like the Conception, but when the fire broke out aboard the ship all of the crew members were asleep.
One of the Conception’s crew members has already filed suit against the ship’s owner. The ship’s owner has also filed a suit in an attempt to limit liability for the tragedy.
The legal situation surrounding the Conception tragedy is governed by maritime law, and we advise victims’ families to contact an experienced maritime attorney immediately in order to protect their rights and seek justice.