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Dive boat accident involving Dive tech and Cathy Church boat

Discussion in 'Cayman Islands' started by peek49230, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
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    I am sorry your boat sustained so much damage and that repairs have been slow. I think many of us are wondering whether there were any repercussions for the driver of the boat that ran into you, a moored dive boat at a dive site.
     
  2. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    chillyinCanada likes this.
  3. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

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    Kangaroo court system. In most other jurisdictions, there would be hell to pay.
    This goes along with the frequent stories in the Cayman Compass about Impaired driving charges being delayed or dropped. Seems to be the case when the accused is well connected.

    A boat at speed with no one at the helm crashing into a moored vessel at a dive site. How can there be any mitigating factors? Res Ipsa Loquitur !
     
    tridacna and Sam Miller III like this.
  4. AggieDiver

    AggieDiver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston, Texas
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    Not trying to disagree that the well connected are generally well taken care of in Cayman, but I can think of a few situations that would be considered as mitigating factors. What if the captain was having a medical issue? I don't know if that is the case at all...but that is one example I can think of that would make deciding on whether to press charges more complicated. What if the captain was being distracted by their boss to deal with something else. The authorities might understandably take pause if a new boat captain was not at the helm at the direction of their immediate supervisor who should have known better. None of that changes who has financial liability, but it could make deciding which charges would be appropriate or could result in a conviction more complicated.
     
    caydiver likes this.
  5. Tienuts

    Tienuts Instructor, Scuba

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    No sorry, there is nothing complicated about this. Captain having a medical issue? You stop the vessel. Captain distracted by boss/customer/act of god? You stop the vessel. You wouldn't leave the helm of your vessel while it's underway any more than you would leave the driver's seat of your car with the cruise control on while zipping down the highway. In the case of traversing near the Kittiwake, it's the equivalent of driving through a school zone full of toddlers. Had she not hit the boat, she would have likely killed many many snorkelers who were just on the opposite side having a good time.

    The Captain of a vessel is the sole person in charge of said vessel when it's underway. There is no supervisor to a Captain of a boat at sea.

    Anyone who condones this sort of behavior has their priorities out of whack.
     
  6. AggieDiver

    AggieDiver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston, Texas
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    Don't assume that I condone anything. I just said that there were reasons why it might be more complicated than it seems. What you said is totally correct. The captain is always in charge and responsible. The easy answer is to stop the boat. However, when the captain is brand new on the job and in their early 20s and has the owner of the boat there with them, the lines get blurred in practice, if not in theory. If the owner of the boat tells them to do something and they don't, do they lose their job? The easy answer for you and me sitting here at a desk is "doesn't matter, stop the boat". But 20 year old me with my boss telling me to do something might not have been so certain about the answer.

    It can also depend on the law text as well. If the law says "willfully" with regard to negligence, how does a medical issue impact that? Again, for fiscal liability, the chain is clear, but in terms of trying to charge somebody with a crime, maybe the text of the laws involved makes it more complicated than it seems.

    Of course this is all completely speculation as I have no details or inside info...just trying to point out gray areas that might explain why the process is taking so long.
     
  7. Dogbowl

    Dogbowl Loggerhead Turtle

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    Yup. From a legal perspective, did a crime occur? Is there sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction? If so, what should be the charge?

    This one is not clear cut. I know nothing about Caymanian law, but since it is a common law jurisdiction, there might be similarities with the situation in Canada.

    In Canada, drunk driving is criminal. And so is dangerous driving and criminal negligence. These charges are included in the Criminal Code, which is federal. Drunk driving a boat is included in this category. Without going into specifics, criminal cases are decided on a standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt", so it is a high threshold. This would mean they need to gather sufficient evidence to charge.

    We also have other charges called careless driving and careless driving causing bodily harm or death. These charges are under the Highway Traffic Act, which is quasi-criminal and provincial (Ontario). I don't think boating incidents are included here.

    And then there are boating laws and regulations, which I suspect may apply here, if the incident had happened in Canada.

    I'm not a criminal lawyer, and the above is just a bit of info to illustrate that charging someone for an incident like this is not always black and white.

    Who knows why it is taking them so long to come to a conclusion. It could mean anything. It could also mean they're just on island time.
     
  8. Wookie

    Wookie Orange Man Bad Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Easy enough, Cayman are signatory to the IMO. Therefore subject to the same Rules of the Road that a Captain in any signatory country is.

    But this isn't a criminal case. Cathy was wrong here, in violation of any Rule you want to quote.

    This will be a civil case, fought over by the insurance companies, who are one and the same, maybe with different underwriters.
     
  9. Dogbowl

    Dogbowl Loggerhead Turtle

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    I tend to agree that it's not criminal. If it's anything like here in Canada, and if she contravened some boating law or regulation, she could be charged under the boating law or regulation and the fines would be in the hundreds of dollars. Not much.
     
  10. AggieDiver

    AggieDiver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston, Texas
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    Yeah, I think it is an interesting question trying to decide which law would really be applicable. I assume there is a "wreckless operation of a watercraft" type of law that is likely to be the most applicable, and as said above, it probably has a few hundred dollar fine attached. But if the person who was supposed to be driving as incapacitated in some way, can that law still apply if the wrecklessness was not "willful"? Without reading through the Cayman statutes, I really don't know, but I have seen crazy stuff that "can't be prosecuted" in the states because of the way laws are written too strictly sometimes.

    The civil chain of liability is abundantly clear in this case, regardless of what the root cause was, but whether there is a criminal offense that can be prosecuted is less clear based on the limited facts we have about the accident.
     

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