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Tragic accident: USCG & pleasure boat

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by JWY, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Too personal and political a question. I will say only that I'm too old to get in today, and my debts are paid:cool: I will also say that I have the utmost respect for those who serve in the past, today and tomorrow regardless of the validity of the battle. That does not mean that all are worthy, but they get it as a unit until they are individually found not to deserve it.
  2. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    On 7 February, 2010 Marmot posted the following:

    "I believe that the recommendations for charges are a public relations ploy to placate those who, like me, want to see those responsible hung out to dry. But, I believe deeper failures led to this tragedy. Those who are ultimately responsible will not be held to account and the severity of the initial findings will lead to a cry for leniency."

    Headline in "The Log - California's Boating and Fishing News"
    http://www.thelog.com/news/logNewsArticle.aspx?x=11904

    Coast Guard Drops More Charges in Holiday Collision on SD Bay
    Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM


    "ALAMEDA (AP) — The Coast Guard has dropped the most serious charges against a petty officer who was in a patrol boat that collided with a pleasureboat during a holiday boat parade on San Diego Bay last year, killing an 8-year-old boy.


    Brittany N. Rasmussen, whose court-martial is scheduled to begin Jan. 26, faces a maximum penalty of one-month confinement and a reduction of rank under the new charges.

    In July, she was charged with negligent homicide, aggravated assault and dereliction of duty. The Coast Guard said Dec. 9 those charges were withdrawn and a new complaint was filed, accusing her only of dereliction of duty.

    The Coast Guard did not explain the decision.
    Dereliction of duty charges have already been dropped against another of the four petty officers aboard the Coast Guard vessel at the time of the crash. Two others, including the helmsman of the boat at the time of the crash, still face more serious charges."
  3. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    what a shock
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Negligent homicide and aggravated assault are generally reserved for intentional acts such as DUI or road rage and dereliction of duty does not describe this incident. I believe those charges were the result of the mistaken report that someone was using a cell phone. This was a case of people screwing up with tragic results. They're not getting off easy. Their careers are done; they're on a fast track to bankruptcy and worst of all they have to close their eyes at night. Not to mention the law suits. As for those higher up, although there is no way to verify, I suspect that a few career paths have changed. No winners here. Probably not even justice.
  5. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    From one of the many legal sites online:

    "Negligent homicide occurs when someone dies as the result of inaction of another person. ... Negligent homicide can also occur in situations when a person operates a motor vehicle in a way that can be considered reckless. Whatever the action or inaction, unlike murder, the resulting death of a victim or victims was not planned and did not involve malice. For this reason, negligent homicide is considered a lesser offense than murder."

    "Result of inaction of another person." Meaning that any crewmember of that boat who did not stand up and tell the coxwain that the boat was being operated dangerously and without due regard to the existing conditions shares the responsibility for the death of that child.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    If my wife reads this she'll feel obligated to punish me every time I cross the speed limit on the highway (like I don't give her enough cause already:( ). The judgements have been made and punishment has been, is, and will continue to be doled out. Not everyone will be satisfied. Certainly the family of the child can never be satisfied. Everything seems to be handled in open light. That's all anyone can hope for, and maybe that lessons be learned.
  7. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    ?? There has been no trial yet, no judgements have been made and no punishments have been "doled out."

    And you can forget about civil recourse, those kids don't have any money to take and very little prospect of ever having any. They don't have much in the way of pockets, must less deep ones.

    As far as their careers in the CG go, I doubt anyone will get the boot as that would put a spotlight on their leaders. It would prove that the crew was either freelancing and not under control, or lacked the training to be set loose with such a potentially dangerous machine. Either way, the brass will make sure that they keep the smell away as far and for as long as possible.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    By judgements I was not referring to final legal determination. Perhaps I should have said 'decisions' to be more clear. And as I said punishment "has been, is, and will continue to be". I sincerely doubt that any involved have been enjoying their lives, nor will they for a long time. I realize that you have a bone to pick with the CG, but it is their decisions, and those of the judges and courts that count. They will make their determinations based on the facts, the law and I'm certain with some degree of consultation with the family. I doubt our views will count much.
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "The judgements have been made and punishment has been, is, and will continue to be doled out."

    Color me confused but words have meanings. You made very specific assertions about the status of the people involved in this tragedy. What I can't understand is why you make those throw away statements that you have to go back and pull out of the trash ... time after time after time ...

    No decisions have been made on the fate of those on the boat, no punishments have been "doled out." For all its operational faults, the CG is not (to the best of my knowledge) so corrupt as to conduct secret trials or impose extrajudicial punishment no matter how badly they screw up.

    I'm glad you recognize the fact that it is the judges who make the judgements and do the deciding and doling. So far the only thing that has been decided is the trial date, the rest of the issue seems be fairly nebulous.

    My personal and professional opinion of how badly the CG trains and supervises its small boat force is irrelevant to how the CG handles this issue other than to confirm my predictions.
  10. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    You are confused, so very very confused.

    You say no decisions have been made and no punishments have been doled out, as you bray about the decisions you have made about these people and those in the operational hierarchy above them. You bleat and wail about the gross miscarriage of training and responsibility that is obvious to you, as you sit in judgment, and you cry out for punishment before they have had their day in court... "Give them a fair trial, then hang them!" Isn't that how it goes? Predictions? No my friend, what you are broadcasting are prejudices not predictions.

    You, most opinionated sir, are the epitome of what is known as The Court of Public Opinion. The very embodiment of what these misguided, untrained, ill-prepared, and over-equipped young fools - if your opinions are worth more than what we have paid for them - are to suffer in punishment their whole lives through. Having been "named and shamed" they and their actions (or inactions as the case may be) are now just a Google search away, no matter the outcome of the trial. With but a few keystrokes, this tragedy will haunt them their whole lives... perhaps beyond, as information has a way of outliving scoundrels. So whatever the decision of the judge, the press and the public have a way of bestowing immortal infamy upon people not for what they did, but for what they were accused of doing.

    If they are the responsible parties, then may they be punished for their misdeeds. If they are but merely players upon their corner of the world stage, then may their directors be brought to justice.

    The pursuit of justice in this tragic instance may indeed be a fool's errand as you say, but to assert that there has been no punishment yet is a statement made up almost of whole cloth.

    Given the display of Marmot Vs. The Search Engine here in this thread, I suspect this is neither the first nor last time such a statement will be written and read on this board.

    Good day.
  11. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    Tragic accident

    Without the input from the Court of public opinion, then Governments and their agencies will runamok with disregard for the laws as laid down by the same Court..i.e..the citizens of the country. As always, be careful what you wish for and always retain control over those who may wish to hold the laws in disregard.
  12. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    So please tell us who has had punishment "doled out" upon them and by whom?

    If you and the good Cap know of some secret internal CG proceedings against the crew or its leaders how about sharing that information. Unlike you guys seem to believe, the CG appears to be following legal procedures before "doling out" punishment - or not.

    And another BTW, practically every one of my complaints about the CG small boat service have been supported almost verbatim by published CG internal reports by their own investigators and those from the NTSB. Those reports are well documented in this thread.
  13. ManuelV

    ManuelV New Member

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    Then it would no longer be secret.
  14. Alaskanmutt

    Alaskanmutt Member

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    Updated Story

    http://www.ksbw.com/news/27284633/detail.html

    ALAMEDA, Calif. -- A Coast Guard petty officer who piloted a boat involved in a collision that left a child dead on San Diego Bay was acquitted Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter and three other charges.

    After a court martial at Coast Guard headquarters in Alameda, a seven-member jury found Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Ramos guilty of the lesser charge of dereliction of duty for failure to conduct a risk assessment.
  15. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Wow, what a surprise!

    7 Feb. 2010

    "My next prediction is that the severe penalties associated with the proposed charges will be seen as too extreme and after enough public exposure the CG will show mercy and let them off with a slap of the wrist and nothing will ever be said about the malfeasance and dereliction of those responsible for setting them loose on San Diego."
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    It's not over by a long shot.
  17. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I am sure that the family will get more money than a 33 footer can carry in $100 bills but that won't change the way the CG trains or operates the small boat fleet or the attitude of those ultimately responsible for this tragedy.

    They will simply distribute another report that says the same thing as all the other reports about poor training and oversight but nothing will change until the next version of this story inevitably occurs.

    Maybe when this sad affair is swept into the closet with the others and the NTSB report is finally released with its probable cause there might be a possibility to discuss this objectively.
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You just described how most governments work. The only way things get accomplished is when a friend of a legislator asks or if enough of a stink is made. A 33 footer filled with $100 bills is a bit of a stink. Big changes likely? Doubtful. Small changes? Possible. Someone in charge actually taking responsibility for something? Not likely, but if enough stink is made someone will be thrown under the bus. Anything more should be considered a bonus. That's life. Better here than many other places. But we all know that a politician's or government worker's idea of accomplishing something is to form a committee and debate it until nobody cares about it anymore.
    BTW, I find it very appropriate that our political parties are represented by a donkey, an elephant and a cup of tea rather than a racehorse or jet.
  19. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I don't think I'd put too much stock on the Union Tribune being unbiased. First they said no disciplinary action was taken and followed that with the actions that were taken. Next they said the CG boat was doing 15 to 30 kts. Granted 30 is getting towards the fast side, but 15 is not. Then they said: "One retired Coast Guard official compared it to driving a Ferrari through a school zone." Come on now. They sited bow rise in the mid speed range, duh. Well, if bow rise was an issue it's most likely that they were running closer to the 15 kt. range than the 30 and there would go the 'too fast' argument, although my gut tells me it was closer to the 30 kt (which would be reckless). They also said this is the wrong boat to use in areas like this. What would they have the CG use, a rubber duckie or a 110'? I'm personally not familiar with the Union Tribune, but based on this article I'd rank them with the National Enquirer. On the up side though, they did point out that the s--t is rolling up hill on this which is good, if it can be believed. There can never be enough training. And as you say, the final chapter on this is a long way from being written yet.