Originally Posted by jameswilson29
Who cares about the Coast Guard inquiry?
It's probably Mickey Mouse in comparison with the coming lawsuits. The captain is dead and the ship is gone.
What are they going to do, pull the deceased captain's license and fine the owner of the boat for failure to maintain or assess the costs of the rescue?
Much to the chagrin of those who believe in government to solve our problems, administrative proceedings are not the be-all and end-all to legal liability.
What makes you think the Coast Guard Marine Board is going to be "Mickey-Mouse"? And that private lawsuits are going to do such a better job?
Have you participated in a formal Board? You're aware the parties in interest have the right to employ legal counsel, who are relatively free to probe anything relevant? Likely the same lawyers to be involved in the subsequent I-want-money litigation.
The Board has the duty to try to find out what happened factually, and to recommend any regulatory changes they find advisable. Also to put the fear of God into all the other licensed Masters, regardless of the apparent death of the licensed captain here. Also, in private litigation, the attorneys/parties decide what evidence they want to put forward or keep on the down-low (if they can). Those proceedings can be more about winning a narrow legal issue and deemphasizing unfavorable evidence, than about getting the full factual picture and determining what's good (or bad) for the industry and the public looking ahead. Also the Board members tend to have decent general maritime experience and knowledge. Not necessarily so, depending on which federal or state judge you draw, or what jury pool you're asking to figure out a marine casualty
But hey, free country (full disclosure--I'm retired Coast Guard Reserve and have sat on, and practiced before, these boards). You can call then just an "administrative procedure" if you want, but they do have credibility with the public historically, at least in my view. Your mileage may vary, but this is mine.