Sinking of MV Conception

Last updated

Sinking of MV Conception
MV Conception burning.jpg
DateSeptember 2, 2019
TimeApproximately 3 a.m. PDT UTC−07:00
LocationPlatts Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, California, United States
Coordinates 34°02′51″N119°44′06″W / 34.04750°N 119.73500°W / 34.04750; -119.73500 Coordinates: 34°02′51″N119°44′06″W / 34.04750°N 119.73500°W / 34.04750; -119.73500
Outcome(See Aftermath section)
Non-fatal injuries5
Californian Channel Islands map en.png
MV Conception
Map of the Channel Islands, California, with sinking site marked in red.
Relief map of California.png
MV Conception
MV Conception (California)

The sinking of MV Conception occurred on September 2, 2019, when the 75-foot (23 m) dive boat caught fire and eventually sank off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, California, United States. The boat was anchored overnight at Platts Harbor, a small undeveloped bay on the north shore of the island, with 33 passengers and 1 crew member asleep below decks when fire broke out shortly after 3 a.m. Five of the crew members, whose sleeping quarters were on the top deck, were forced by the fire to jump overboard but not before placing an initial mayday call to the Coast Guard and attempting to alert the passengers. The crew retrieved the Conception's skiff and motored to a nearby boat where a second radio dispatch was made. The loss of the boat spurred a rescue operation by the United States Coast Guard. [1] [2]

Dive boat Boat used for the support of scuba diving operations

A dive boat is a boat that recreational divers or professional scuba divers use to reach a dive site which they could not conveniently reach by swimming from the shore. Dive boats may be propelled by wind or muscle power, but are usually powered by internal combustion engines. Some features, like convenient access to the water, are common to all dive boats, while others depend on the specific application or region where they are used.

Santa Cruz Island island in the United States of America

Santa Cruz Island is located off the southwestern coast of California, United States. It is the largest island in California, and largest of the eight islands in the Channel Islands archipelago. Forming part of the northern group of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz is 22 miles (35 km) long and 2 to 6 miles wide with an area of 61,764.6 acres (249.952 km2).

California U.S. state in the United States

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.


It is the worst maritime disaster in California since the sinking of the Brother Jonathan in 1865, and the deadliest in the United States overall since the USS Iowa turret explosion in 1989. [3]

<i>Brother Jonathan</i> (steamer) United States historic place

Brother Jonathan was a paddle steamer that struck an uncharted rock near Point St George, off the coast of Crescent City, California, on 30 July 1865. The ship was carrying 244 passengers and crew, with a large shipment of gold. Only 19 people survived, making it the deadliest shipwreck up to that time on the Pacific Coast of the United States. Based on the passenger and crew list, 225 people are believed to have died.

USS <i>Iowa</i> turret explosion

On 19 April 1989, the Number Two 16-inch gun turret of the United States Navy battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) exploded. The explosion in the center gun room killed 47 of the turret's crewmen and severely damaged the gun turret itself. Two major investigations were undertaken into the cause of the explosion, one by the U.S. Navy and then one by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Sandia National Laboratories. The investigations produced conflicting conclusions.


The Conception anchored at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, in May 2000 MVConception2000Avalon.jpg
The Conception anchored at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, in May 2000

MV Conception was a 75-foot (23 m) liveaboard boat built in Long Beach, California, and launched in 1981. [4] [5] It was one of three dive boats owned by Truth Aquatics, which operates charter excursions from Santa Barbara Harbor for groups of divers interested in exploring the Channel Islands, located close to the coast of Southern California by Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. [6] Conception was under charter to Worldwide Diving Adventures (WDA) for a three-day scuba diving excursion over the Labor Day holiday weekend, which was one of WDA's most popular diving tour packages. [7] [8] [9] The boat had been refurbished at a cost of more than $1 million following an incident in 2005 when it had been stolen and run aground. [10]

Motor ship ship propelled by an internal combustion engine, usually a diesel engine

A motor ship or motor vessel is a ship propelled by an internal combustion engine, usually a diesel engine. The names of motor ships are often prefixed with MS, M/S, MV or M/V.

Long Beach, California City in California, United States

Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the United States, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California. It is the 39th most populous city in the United States and the 7th most populous in California, with a population of 462,257 in 2010. A charter city, it is the second largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and the third in Southern California behind Los Angeles and San Diego.

Santa Barbara, California City in California, United States

Santa Barbara is a coastal city in, and the county seat of, Santa Barbara County in the U.S. state of California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the "American Riviera". As of 2014, the city had an estimated population of 91,196, up from 88,410 in 2010, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria. The contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, has an approximate population of 220,000. The population of the entire county in 2010 was 423,895.

Federal and international regulations require boats over a certain size to be made of fire resistant materials and to include fire sprinklers and smoke detectors wired into the ship's electronics or linked to the bridge. Given the vessel's age and size, Conception, at less than 100  GT and with fewer than 49 berths, was not covered by those regulations. It was constructed of wood covered with fiberglass, as permitted by regulations last updated in 1978. [11] [12] At the time of the fire, Conception was believed to be in compliance with those regulations, and the most recent Coast Guard inspections in February 2019 and August 2018 did not result in any noteworthy violations. [13] [14] [11] According to the vessel's Certificate of Inspection, it had a maximum capacity of 103: 4 crew and 99 passengers; one crewmember was required to be designated as a roving patrol at all times when the passenger bunks were occupied. [15]

Gross tonnage

Gross tonnage is a nonlinear measure of a ship's overall internal volume. Gross tonnage is different from gross register tonnage. Neither gross tonnage nor gross register tonnage should be confused with measures of mass or weight such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

Fiberglass (US) or fibreglass (UK) is a common type of fiber-reinforced plastic using glass fiber. The fibers may be randomly arranged, flattened into a sheet, or woven into a fabric. The plastic matrix may be a thermoset polymer matrix—most often based on thermosetting polymers such as epoxy, polyester resin, or vinylester—or a thermoplastic.

Conception lower deck bunk room, starboard side facing aft, from a May 2003 dive trip ConceptionBunk2000.jpg
Conception lower deck bunk room, starboard side facing aft, from a May 2003 dive trip

The boat was laid out with three decks. The upper sun deck contained the wheelhouse. The main deck, just below the sun deck, included a large cabin, which had a galley (in the forward portion of the cabin) where the crew could prepare meals and a salon (in the aft portion) with seating for meals. [14] On the lower deck, up to 46 individuals could sleep in 13 double bunks (12 of which were stacked in twos) and 20 single bunks (18 stacked in threes), with one labeled as reserved for crew. [4] [10] The rest of the crew berths were located two decks above, in the aft portion of the wheelhouse on the sun deck. [14]

Bridge (nautical) room or platform from which a ship can be commanded

The bridge of a ship is the room or platform from which the ship can be commanded. When a ship is under way, the bridge is manned by an officer of the watch aided usually by an able seaman acting as lookout. During critical maneuvers the captain will be on the bridge, often supported by an officer of the watch, an able seaman on the wheel and sometimes a pilot, if required.


Aft, in naval terminology, is an adjective or adverb meaning, towards the stern (rear) of the ship, when the frame of reference is within the ship, headed at the fore. Example: "Able Seaman Smith; lay aft!". Or; "What's happening aft?"

According to the deck plans, the main access to the guest accommodations was the forward stairway connected to the galley and main deck cabin. [4] The designer of the vessel stated that there were two exits from the bunk room: a forward staircase at the bow end of the vessel that led up to the galley area, and an aft escape hatch located above one of the bunks, which led to the salon. After exiting the aft escape hatch, a person would still be within the main deck cabin, approximately 3 to 4 feet (0.91 to 1.22 m) forward of the exit to the main deck. [16] Some former dive passengers could only recall the forward stairway exit and could not recall if they had been briefed on the presence of the aft emergency escape hatch. [17] Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown stated both exits appeared to have been blocked by fire during the disaster. [18]

Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office (SBSO) provides law enforcement for the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, California, as well as several cities within the county. The cities that the Sheriff's Office provides police services for include Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta and Solvang. In total the 640 full-time employees of the Sheriff's Office are responsible for 2,745 square miles (7,110 km2) of the county.


On the night of the fire, a crew member sleeping in the crew quarters on the sun deck awoke to the sound of a pop in the dark and believed it to be a disoriented crew member or passenger. Upon leaving his bed to attempt to aid the individual, he discovered an uncontrollable fire in the ship's galley, inside the main deck cabin. [10] The fire had already spread to the aft end of the sun deck. [19] The crew member returned to wake the remaining crew on the sun deck, [19] and two mayday calls were placed at approximately 3:15 am from the wheelhouse of the Conception. [18] [20] The five crew members that had been sleeping on the sun deck were unable to descend to the main deck, as the aft ladder was already engulfed in flames; they instead jumped down to the main deck and one broke his leg in the process. [21]

The ship's captain said the aft escape hatch was engulfed in fire and the surviving crew could do nothing to help the passengers and one crew member sleeping in the lower deck berths. [22] [23] The crew then attempted to access the main deck cabin through a window in the forward section of the boat, but were thwarted by thick smoke; flames prevented the crew from getting any closer to rescuing the trapped passengers. [21] [24] The five crew members leapt into the ocean from the bow to escape the fire; two and the captain retrieved the boat's skiff (an inflatable dinghy) from the stern, and, after retrieving the remaining crew, paddled approximately 200 yards (180 m) to the only boat moored nearby, The Grape Escape. [8] [19] [20]

The surviving crew put out another mayday alert from The Grape Escape and two of the crew returned to the Conception in the skiff to search for survivors. [10] [25] While waiting for aid, small explosions were heard from the Conception, believed by the crew to be caused by the pressurized dive cylinders rupturing from the heat of the fire. [8] One of the distress calls sent from the Conception initially suggested that at least one individual below deck was awake, as a man's voice was recorded screaming "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! I can't breathe!" [26] However, Glen Fritzler, the owner of Truth Aquatics, clarified the first mayday calls had been made by the captain of the Conception from the wheelhouse before he evacuated from the boat. [18] [27]

USCGC Narwhal at Santa Cruz Island (Sept 2019) USCGC Narwhal off the coast of Santa Cruz Island.jpg
USCGC Narwhal at Santa Cruz Island (Sept 2019)

Coast Guard crews, the Ventura County and Santa Barbara County Fire Departments, and Vessel Assist responded by 3:30 am to a mayday call of a boat engulfed in flames. [28] Officials struggled to fight the fire, as the boat was in a remote location with limited firefighting capabilities and the fire was moving quickly and kept flaring up. In order to attempt to fight the fire and allow fireboats to reach the vessel, it was towed out to deeper water by a TowBoatUS ship. [29] The fire was extinguished by 5:23 am. [30] The Coast Guard cutter Narwhal, based in Corona Del Mar, arrived approximately two hours after being dispatched and remained onsite for four days as the command and control ship to coordinate rescue and recovery operations. [31]

The boat sank about four hours after the fire broke out, [8] coming to rest upside-down at a depth of 64 feet (20 m) approximately 20 yards (18 m) from the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. [7]


Of the 33 passengers and six crew members that were on board the vessel, all 33 passengers and one crew member were killed the night of the fire, with five crew members escaping with injuries. As of September 2, Coast Guard divers located 25 bodies, while nine other people remained missing. Four floating bodies were initially recovered at the time of the sinking, and another sixteen were pulled from the water later. Another five bodies were visible in the vessel but unreachable because of concerns about unsafe conditions on the boat. [29] The Coast Guard suspended search efforts on the morning of September 3, as it required the wreckage to be stabilized before searching it for further bodies. The unaccounted victims have been presumed dead. [32] [23] By September 4, all but one of the bodies had been recovered, with around thirty local divers and members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assisting in the search for the last body. [33] The last body was located and recovered on September 11. [34]

Most of the victims were from California. One couple was from Arizona. [35] Two of the victims were confirmed to be Singaporean. [36] Two of the victims are believed to have been students. [37] It is believed that the youngest were age 17 and the oldest were in their 60s, with a majority of the victims from Santa Cruz and the Bay Area. [38]

DNA was collected from family members to be used by the Santa Barbara County coroner to identify the bodies. [39] Identification was delayed by the loss of the onboard passenger manifest and difficulties by law enforcement in initially locating a second copy. [11] The apparent cause of death was smoke inhalation. [40] [41] Twenty-three of the bodies were identified with the assistance of a private company that had developed a form of rapid DNA technology previously used to identify Camp Fire victims. [11] All 34 victims were identified by September 12. [42]


Conception photographs from summer 1995
Conception bunk room showing the underside of the escape hatch from Summer 1995.jpg
Bunk room and aft escape hatch (above bunk #10), view directed portside.
Conception deck showing escape hatch in saloon from Summer 1995.jpg
Main deck, view towards bow into salon. Aft escape hatch exit is centered just inside the main deck cabin.

Truth Aquatics is considered a respectable business in the area, with their boats in good condition, according to state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who represents the Santa Barbara area. [35] Local entrepreneur Ken Kurtis, owner of a dive charter company, told The Maritime Executive it was the only major fire he was aware of on a Californian dive boat and the issue was not widely contemplated by the local industry. [12] U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein called for an investigation into the incident and specifically wants to address the training of the crew and why they were not able to rescue or alert the passengers. She also wants to see if additional regulations are needed to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Via press release, Feinstein stated "It's inconceivable that with all the safety regulations we have in place today, a fire on a boat can lead to the loss of life we saw this morning near Santa Cruz Island". [43] [44]

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched a go team on September 3 to the accident to investigate. The on-scene portion of the investigation is scheduled to last for ten days, with the objective to determine the cause of the fire and verify the safety measures that had been aboard Conception. [35] The Coast Guard launched its own safety investigation focused principally on regulation adherence and on determining if enforcement action was required. [45] The NTSB and other authorities toured the Conception's sister ship Vision, also owned by Truth Aquatics, to evaluate how it might be evacuated in the event of a fire. [33] During the tour of Vision, NTSB Member Homendy was "taken aback" by the difficulty of using the aft escape hatch. "You have to climb up a ladder and across the top bunk and then push a wooden door up. It was a tight space." [46] Speaking on September 3, Member Homendy said she was "one hundred percent confident that we will learn the why and the how" behind the accident. [45]

NTSB official using the aft (salon) escape hatch on sister dive boat Vision. NTSB B-roll - Vision lower deck bunks (escape hatch to salon).jpg
NTSB official using the aft (salon) escape hatch on sister dive boat Vision.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) immediately responded, but investigatory agents did not arrive until September 7, to investigate the point of ignition and cause of the blaze. [11] Search warrants were served on September 8 for the Truth Aquatics offices and the two remaining boats in its fleet. [30] On September 9, law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that a joint federal criminal investigation was underway, led by the Coast Guard, joined by the FBI and ATF, and under the oversight of the United States Attorney for Los Angeles. The focus of the investigation is on records retrieved from the offices of Truth Aquatics, prompted by a preliminary investigation which indicated potential deficiencies in crew training, passenger safety briefings, and the failure to use a roaming "night watchman". [47]

On September 11, the Coast Guard announced it had convened a formal Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) for the fire and loss of Conception. The four members of the MBI will determine contributing factors, including whether the actions of certified people or any Coast Guard or government personnel may have contributed to the loss. [48]


DB Salta Verde at Santa Cruz Island (Sept 2019) 190904-G-ZX620-0009.jpg
DB Salta Verde at Santa Cruz Island (Sept 2019)

Derrick barge Salta Verde ( MMSI number : 367507960) arrived at Santa Cruz Island to assist with the salvage operation on September 4. [49] Divers examined the wreckage to prepare to raise it, but high winds and heavy seas hampered the recovery plans. [24] Conception had settled on the bottom upside-down; the first attempt to roll the boat upright and raise it was planned for September 6, but recovery efforts would have been delayed if the windy conditions had continued. [40] The FBI assisted this portion of the investigation due to their experience in evidence preservation. [11] Side-scan sonar was used to image the boat in situ and video was taken of the undisturbed wreckage prior to lifting. [14] Divers are required throughout the process to monitor the lift and look for the last victim. [11]

Conception was rolled upright while underwater on September 6. Continued adverse weather conditions prevented the raising of the wreck [30] until it was lifted from the sea on September 12. [50] Ship traffic records showed that DB Salta Verde had left Santa Cruz Island and arrived at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme by September 13. [51]


Aft wall of main deck cabin on sister dive boat Vision, showing bookcase and power strips for charging electronics NTSB B-roll - Vision salon (cropped).jpg
Aft wall of main deck cabin on sister dive boat Vision, showing bookcase and power strips for charging electronics

The NTSB expects to conclude its investigation and declare a cause after twelve to eighteen months of investigations. [52] One of the surviving crew members theorized the fire may have started in the galley of the ship, where cellphones and cameras had been plugged in to charge overnight. The designer of the vessel speculated the fire began in the bunk area, possibly sparked by a lithium battery. [16] The NTSB expects to take remnants of any devices charging in the boat to their headquarters near Washington DC for further examination. [11] On September 10, the Coast Guard issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 008-19, immediately advising owners, operators, and masters of passenger vessels to limit "the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and extensive use of power strips and extension cords." [53]

Areas of concern

While there were smoke detectors on the Conception, the surviving crew did not believe any alarms sounded before they discovered the fire. The detectors were of the standard type for home use, which, at the time both Conception and Vision were built, met existing safety requirements. [54] MSIB 008-19 also advised that firefighting and lifesaving equipment should be checked immediately to ensure it is onboard and operational. [53] According to the preliminary NTSB report, the two smoke alarms were locally-sounding, located in the lower deck bunkroom. [19]

The boat was not at capacity, but according to the Los Angeles Times , the preliminary investigation identified the lack of a roaming night watch as a safety deficiency, [54] [55] in violation of the conditions in the Certificate of Inspection [15] and 46 C.F.R. § 185.410. [56] MSIB 008-19 advised owners, operators, and masters to review the vessel's Certificate of Inspection to ensure that crewmembers are aware of and understand any conditional requirements, including any crewmember obligations during an emergency. In addition, emergency escapes were to be clearly identified, verified functional, and free of obstructions. [53]

Preliminary report

NTSB issued a preliminary report on the fire on September 12. [19] While the cause of the fire had not yet been determined, the Board asserted that the fire had spread through the boat while all of the crew had been asleep, despite regulations requiring one crew member to be awake on night watch. [57] A lawyer representing Truth Aquatics disputed this assertion, and stated that one crew member had checked on the galley area around 2:30 am on September 2. [42] Officials believed that all of the passengers and the crew-member sleeping below decks had died from smoke inhalation before they were burned or drowned. [41]


California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement through Twitter praising the efforts of the emergency medical workers and offering his condolences to the families and loved ones affected. [26]

A makeshift memorial was created outside the headquarters of Truth Aquatics in Santa Barbara Harbor. [29] [33] A vigil was scheduled for September 6 with first responders taking part in the open-to-all event, which was organised by local religious groups, divers, and other organisations. [58]

Truth Aquatics suspended operations on their remaining two boats following the disaster. [24] The company also filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the Central District of California, claiming limited liability under Limitation of Liability Act of 1851. The suit, if shown that Truth Aquatics was not liable for the accident, would limit Truth Aquatics' damages only to the value of the ship, thus preventing any damages to be issued against them by the families of the victims should they file suit. It would also reduce the length of time that these families would have to counter Truth Aquatic's claims. This practice is common in maritime accidents. [59] The claims would be tied up in this limitation of liability proceeding. [60]

See also

Related Research Articles

The radiotelephony message PAN-PAN is the international standard urgency signal that someone aboard a boat, ship, aircraft, or other vehicle uses to declare that they have a situation that is urgent, but for the time being, does not pose an immediate danger to anyone's life or to the vessel itself. This is referred to as a state of "urgency". This is distinct from a mayday call, which means that there is imminent danger to life or to the continued viability of the vessel itself. Radioing "pan-pan" informs potential rescuers that an urgent problem exists, whereas "mayday" calls on them to drop all other activities and immediately begin a rescue.

Air Canada Flight 797 1983 in-flight fire aboard an Air Canada DC-9-32 near Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Air Canada Flight 797 was an international passenger flight operating from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Montréal–Dorval International Airport, with an intermediate stop at Toronto Pearson International Airport. On 2 June 1983, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 operating the service developed an in-flight fire behind the lavatory that spread between the outer skin and the inner decor panels, filling the plane with toxic smoke. The spreading fire also burned through crucial electrical cables that disabled most of the instrumentation in the cockpit, forcing the plane to divert to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Ninety seconds after the plane landed and the doors were opened, the heat of the fire and fresh oxygen from the open exit doors created flashover conditions, and the plane's interior immediately became engulfed in flames, killing 23 passengers who had yet to evacuate the aircraft.

Deck (ship) part of a ship or boat

A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary or upper deck is the horizontal structure that forms the "roof" of the hull, strengthening it and serving as the primary working surface. Vessels often have more than one level both within the hull and in the superstructure above the primary deck, similar to the floors of a multi-storey building, that are also referred to as decks, as are certain compartments and decks built over specific areas of the superstructure. Decks for some purposes have specific names.

Aeroméxico Flight 498 mid-air collision

Aeroméxico Flight 498 was a scheduled commercial flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles, with several intermediate stops. On Sunday, August 31, 1986, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 operating the flight was clipped in the tail section by N4891F, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer owned by the Kramer family, and crashed into the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos, killing all 67 on both aircraft and an additional fifteen on the ground. Eight on the ground also sustained minor injuries from the midday crash.

MS <i>Scandinavian Star</i> Ship

MS Scandinavian Star, originally named MS Massalia, was a car and passenger ferry built in France in 1971. The ship was set on fire on April 6, 1990, killing 159 people, and the official investigation blamed the fires on a convicted arsonist, who died in the fire. This finding has since been disputed.

United Airlines Flight 811 1989 aviation accident

United Airlines Flight 811 was a regularly scheduled airline flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, with intermediate stops at Honolulu and Auckland. On February 24, 1989, the Boeing 747–122 serving the flight experienced a cargo door failure in flight shortly after leaving Honolulu. The resulting explosive decompression blew out several rows of seats, resulting in the deaths of nine passengers. The aircraft returned to Honolulu, where it landed safely.

SS <i>Carl D. Bradley</i> Self-unloading Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Michigan storm

SS Carl D. Bradley was a self-unloading Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Michigan storm on November 18, 1958. Of the 35 crew members, 33 died in the sinking. 23 were from the port town of Rogers City, Michigan. Her sinking was likely caused by structural failure from the brittle steel used in her construction.

<i>Crown Princess</i> (ship) ship

Crown Princess is a Crown class cruise ship owned and operated by Princess Cruises. Her maiden voyage took place on June 14, 2006, departing Red Hook, Brooklyn for Grand Turk, Ocho Rios (Jamaica), Grand Cayman, and Port Canaveral (Florida). As of 2019, the Crown Princess sails in the Caribbean during the Winter season, and in Europe for the Summer season. Like her sister ships Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess, her Skywalkers Night Club is built aft of the funnel rather than suspended over the stern as a "wing," or "spoiler", as seen on the Caribbean Princess. Her godmother is Martha Stewart.

USCGC <i>Blackthorn</i> (WLB-391)

USCGC Blackthorn (WLB-391) was a 180-foot (55 m) seagoing buoy tender (WLB) which sank in 1980 in a collision near the Tampa Bay Sunshine Skyway Bridge, resulting in 23 crew member fatalities. An Iris-class vessel, she was built by Marine Ironworks and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth, Minnesota. Blackthorn's preliminary design was completed by the United States Lighthouse Service and the final design was produced by Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth. On 21 May 1943 the keel was laid, she was launched on 20 July 1943 and commissioned on 27 March 1944. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $876,403.

<i>Carnival Sunrise</i> Cruise ship

Carnival Sunrise is second in the Sunshine-Class of cruise ships. As she and her three younger sisters are each a redesigned version of the lead ship in the class, she is sometimes referred to as the first of the Triumph-class of cruise ships. Along with her sisters Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Victory, she is operated by Carnival Cruise Line. Carnival Sunrise will be homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, New York City, New York, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida following her drydock.

Star Princess ship

Star Princess is a Grand-class cruise ship, operated by Princess Cruises. Star Princess is a sister ship to Grand Princess and the Golden Princess.

<i>Carnival Ecstasy</i> Cruise ship

Carnival Ecstasy is a Fantasy-class cruise ship operated by Carnival Cruise Line. Built by Kværner Masa-Yards at its Helsinki New Shipyard in Helsinki, Finland, she was floated out on January 6, 1991, and christened Ecstasy by television hostess, entertainer and long time Carnival spokesperson Kathie Lee Gifford. During 2007, in common with all of her Fantasy-class sisters, she had the prefix Carnival added to her name.

<i>Carnival Splendor</i> Concordia-class cruise ship

Carnival Splendor is the sole ship of the Splendor class, a smaller, modified version of the Concordia-class cruise ship, operated by Costa. She entered service on 2 July 2008. At 113,323 GT, she was the largest ship in Carnival Cruise Line until Carnival Dream debuted in September 2009. Carnival Splendor is widely known for the November 2010 incident in which a fire started in the engine room, shutting down all electrical power to the ship.

SS <i>Manhattan</i> (1931)

The SS Manhattan was a 24,189-ton luxury liner of the United States Lines, named after the borough of New York City. On 15 June 1941, the Manhattan was commissioned as the USS Wakefield and became the largest vessel ever operated by the US Coast Guard. In 1942, the ship caught fire and was rebuilt as a troop ship. The Manhattan never saw commercial service again.

2008 Chatsworth train collision head-on collision in Los Angeles, California

The Chatsworth train collision occurred at 4:22:23 p.m. PDT on Friday, September 12, 2008, when a Union Pacific freight train and a Metrolink commuter train collided head-on in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, California. The scene of the accident was a curved section of single track on the Metrolink Ventura County Line just east of Stoney Point.

EgyptAir Flight 990 1999 plane crash of an EgyptAir Boeing 767 in the Atlantic Ocean

EgyptAir Flight 990 (MS990/MSR990) was a regularly scheduled flight from Los Angeles International Airport, United States, to Cairo International Airport, Egypt, with a stop at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City. On October 31, 1999, the Boeing 767 operating the route crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (100 km) south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, killing all 217 passengers and crew on board.

Stern launching ramp

Some modern patrol vessels are equipped with a stern launching ramp, for deploying smaller rescue or pursuit boats without requiring the parent ship to first come to a halt. Typically the smaller craft are powered by water-jets, and can drive themselves up the ramp by their own power.

SS <i>El Faro</i> ship

SS El Faro was a United States-flagged, combination roll-on/roll-off and lift-on/lift-off cargo ship crewed by U.S. merchant mariners. Built in 1975 by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. as Puerto Rico, the vessel was renamed Northern Lights in 1991, and finally, El Faro in 2006. She was lost at sea with all hands on October 1, 2015, after steaming into the center of Hurricane Joaquin.

Table Rock Lake duck boat accident

On the evening of July 19, 2018, a duck boat operated by Ride the Ducks sank on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri, in the United States. The amphibious vehicle sank with 31 people on board, leaving 17 dead, during high winds associated with nearby severe thunderstorms.l

Atlas Air Flight 3591 February 23, 2019 aviation accident

Atlas Air Flight 3591 was a scheduled domestic cargo flight operating for Amazon Air between Miami International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. On February 23, 2019, the Boeing 767-375ER(BCF) operating this flight crashed into Trinity Bay during approach into Houston, killing the two crew members and one passenger on board. The accident occurred near Anahuac, Texas, east of Houston, shortly before 12:45 CST (18:45 UTC). Debris was found in the shallow waters of Trinity Bay, ranging from small articles of clothing to large aircraft parts.


  1. Dowd, Katie (September 2, 2019). "What we know about the Santa Cruz Island boat fire disaster". SFGate . Hearst Communications . Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  2. Bravo, Kristina; Kuzj, Steve; Friel, Courtney; Wenzke, Marissa; Knight, Nerissa; Associated Press; Wolfe, Chris (September 2, 2019). "25 Bodies Found Near Santa Cruz Island Where Dive Boat Burned; 9 People Still Missing". KTLA . Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  3. Gumbel, Andrew (September 4, 2019). "California boat fire: stairs from sleeping quarters led to space filled with flames". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  4. 1 2 3 "Conception". Truth Aquatics. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  5. "California boat fire: At least 15 bodies found, others remain missing". Los Angeles Times. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  6. "About". Truth Aquatics. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  7. 1 2 "California boat fire: More bodies found off Santa Cruz Island". BBC News . September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Nelson, Laura J.; Smith, Dakota; Sahagun, Louis; Cosgrove, Jaclyn (September 3, 2019). "Biologist missing in boat fire had 'a love for marine life'". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  9. Graff, Amy (September 3, 2019). "Owner of Santa Cruz adventure company missing after deadly boat fire". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Wilson, Scott; Rosenberg, Eli (September 2, 2019). "Eight dead, 26 unaccounted for after diving boat catches fire near California coast, officials say". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Welsh, Nick; Yamamura, Jean (September 6, 2019). "22 Conception Victims Identified". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  12. 1 2 "NTSB: Cell Charging a Possible Ignition Source in Dive Boat Fire". The Maritime Executive.
  13. Bacon, John; Bote, Joshua; Oliver, David; Lam, Kristin (September 2, 2019). "At least 8 dead, dozens missing after California dive boat fire; Coast Guard warns to prepare for 'the worst outcome'". USA Today. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Yamamura, Jean (September 5, 2019). "'Conception' Crew Interviewed During NTSB Probe". Santa Barbara Independent . Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  15. 1 2 "Certificate of Inspection: Conception" (PDF). United States Coast Guard. November 19, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  16. 1 2 Fry, Hannah; Christensen, Kim; Rust, Susanne; Shalby, Colleen (September 5, 2019). "Surviving crew member thought phone charging station might have sparked boat fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  17. Deerwester, Jayme (September 2, 2019). "California dive-boat fire highlights need for more than one exit from sleeping quarters". USA Today. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  18. 1 2 3 Karimi, Faith (September 4, 2019). "Flames blocked escape routes on boat and trapped sleeping divers, official says. 33 bodies have been found". CNN. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 Preliminary Report: Marine DCA19MM047 (Report). National Transportation Safety Board. September 12, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  20. 1 2 Melley, Brian (September 4, 2019). "Burning dive boat takes fatal fire clues to a watery grave". AP News. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  21. 1 2 Dazio, Stefanie (September 5, 2019). "Fire foiled rescued attempts by California boat crew". AP News. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  22. "'You can only imagine the horror': Couple who rescued California boat fire survivors speaks out". CBS News. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  23. 1 2 "Coast Guard suspends search efforts for victims of California boat fire". CBS News. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  24. 1 2 3 Whitcomb, Dan (September 5, 2019). "Crew told of 'harrowing' California boat fire that killed 34 - NTSB". Reuters. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  25. Karlamangla, Sumya; Ormseth, Matthew; Smith, Dakota; Fry, Hannah (September 3, 2019). "How did crew members survive California boat fire? Their location allowed for escape, sheriff says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  26. 1 2 Del Real, Jose A.; Chokshi, Niraj; Fuller, Thomas (September 2, 2019). "California Boat Fire Kills at Least 20; Haunting Pleas as Flames Erupt". The New York Times . ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  27. Brunnel, Natalie (September 3, 2019). "Boat Owner on Deadly Fire Near Santa Cruz Island". Spectrum News 1. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  28. Rodriguez, Adrianna; Lam, Kristin. "All 33 passengers presumed dead after horrific California boat fire, Coast Guard says". USA Today . Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  29. 1 2 3 Dazio, Stefanie (September 2, 2019). "Coast Guard: 25 bodies found after California boat fire". AP News . Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  30. 1 2 3 Smith, Delaney (September 9, 2019). "Truth Aquatics Preemptively Fends Off Lawsuits". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  31. Henley, David C. (September 9, 2019). "'It will live with me forever': Coast Guard officer recalls 4 days of duty at site of dive boat tragedy". Daily Pilot . Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  32. "Search called off for 34 presumed dead in fire on diving boat off Southern California". NBC News. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  33. 1 2 3 Puente, Mark; Ormseth, Matthew; Fry, Hannah (September 4, 2019). "33 bodies recovered in California boat fire search as investigation intensifies". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  34. Moon, Sarah (September 11, 2019). "The last missing victim from the California dive boat fire has been located". CNN . Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  35. 1 2 3 "The Latest: NTSB arrives to investigate deadly boat fire". San Francisco Chronicle . Associated Press. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  36. "Singaporean diver Tan Wei confirmed to be among the 34 California boat blaze victims". CNA. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  37. Sheehy, Kate (September 3, 2019). "2 students from elite high school were on doomed dive boat: report". New York Post. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  38. Hutchinson, Bill (September 3, 2019). "Remains of 20 victims recovered in California boat fire, police say". ABC News. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  39. "NTSB Begins Probe Into Deadly Scuba Boat Fire". NBC Southern California.
  40. 1 2 Savidge, Nico (September 6, 2019). "Dive boat fire: Crews hope to recover Conception today". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  41. 1 2 Dazio, Stefanie (September 6, 2019). "Sheriff: Dive boat victims killed by smoke, not flames". AP News. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  42. 1 2 "The Latest: All 34 victims of California boat fire ID'd". AP News. AP. September 12, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  43. "25 Dead, 9 Missing After Boat Catches Fire Off Santa Cruz Island".
  44. Feinstein, Dianne (September 2, 2019). "Feinstein Calls for Interagency Investigation into Tragic Boat Fire" (Press release). Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator for California. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  45. 1 2 Yamamura, Jean (September 4, 2019). "'Conception' Fire Under NTSB Investigation". Santa Barbara Independent . Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  46. Puente, Mark (September 5, 2019). "NTSB investigator in boat fire 'taken aback' by small escape route for passengers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  47. Winton, Richad; Ormseth, Matthew; Puente, Mark (September 9, 2019). "California boat fire: Criminal probe launched with focus on possible safety lapses, sources say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  48. "Coast Guard convenes highest-level marine casualty investigation into loss of Conception". Coast Guard News. September 11, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  49. Kelley, Patrick (September 4, 2019). "MV Conception salvage barge arrives". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  50. Bowden, Ebony (September 12, 2019). "Charred Conception dive boat ruins brought to surface by salvage crew". New York Post. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  51. Dazio, Stefanie; Melley, Brian (September 13, 2019). "Boat fire wreckage taken to navy base for investigation". AP News. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  52. Mansell, William (September 5, 2019). "NTSB expects full report on California boat fire in 12 to 18 months". ABC News. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  53. 1 2 3 "MSIB 008-19: Passenger vessel compliance and operational readiness" (PDF). Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, Inspections and Compliance Directorate. September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  54. 1 2 Puente, Mark (September 5, 2019). "Surviving crew members said boat fire was too intense to save any passengers". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  55. Puente, Mark; Winton, Richard; Miller, Leia,; Fry, Hannah (September 12, 2019). "All Conception crew members were sleeping when boat fire broke out, NTSB says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 12, 2019.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  56. "46 CFR § 185.410 - Watchmen". Code of Federal Regulations. Retrieved September 12, 2019. The owner, charterer, master, or managing operator of a vessel carrying overnight passengers shall have a suitable number of watchmen patrol throughout the vessel during the nighttime, whether or not the vessel is underway, to guard against, and give alarm in case of, a fire, man overboard, or other dangerous situation.
  57. Wells, Jason (September 12, 2019). "The Fire That Killed 34 People On A California Dive Boat Spread While The Entire Crew Was Asleep, Investigators Say". Buzzfeed News . Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  58. Yamamura, Jean (September 5, 2019). "Vigil for 'Conception' Victims to Take Place Friday". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  59. "Fatal scuba diving boat fire in California raises questions".
  60. "California diving boat owners seek to head off lawsuits after 34 die in fire". Associated Press. September 6, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019 via NBC News.