Earlier this year, a casino boat caught fire off the coast of Port Richey. This tragic fire left 15 passengers injured and one passenger passed away shortly after being transferred to the hospital in critical condition. On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board released the findings of its investigation into the boat blaze.

What Happened?

In January, the Island Lady, owned by Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, LLC, began to experience engine problems shortly after leaving Port Richey. As the boat began to turn back and head for shore, flames quickly engulfed the vessel. Passengers, many over the age of 60, started to jump ship into the cold water below.

As a result of the fire, 15 passengers were sent to the hospital. One passenger later died in the hospital after inhaling noxious fumes from the fire.

This is not the first time a boat from Tropical Breeze caught fire. In 2004, a boat operated by the company caught fire in a similar location. The fire was determined to be caused by maintenance and safety issues on board.

The Investigation Results

This Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the findings of its investigation into the blaze that took place over several months.

  • The NTSB found that the boat was improperly maintained by the operator.
  • It lacked fire detection equipment where the fire broke out.
  • Tropical Breeze did not properly train its crew in dealing with high temperatures in the engine room or how to handle the fire crisis once it began.

This is even more frustrating when you consider the fact that these problems are almost identical to the ones found in the 2004 boat fire. That boat was also owned by Tropical Breeze, yet it appears that no meaningful changes were made in the 14 years since that accident.

New Accident, Same Problems

While negligence on the part of Tropical Breeze seems fairly clear, they weren’t the only party to receive some criticism in the investigation.

The NTSB also had some recommendations for updating the Coast Guard policies to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again.

One of the key recommendations by the board for the Coast Guard was the requirement that all companies operating domestic passenger boats have programs in place for preventative maintenance on key systems. These would include electrical and mechanical systems, which would have potentially prevented the fire from ever starting on the Island Lady.

Coast Guard Safety Recommendations - Brooks Law Group

This recommendation by the board was first made in 2002. It was recommended again in 2012. Now, in 2018, it’s being recommended for a third time. I hope this time it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

Contact Brooks Law Group

Tragedies like this make it clear that we can’t rely on others to have our best interests in mind. That’s why you need an experienced attorney on your side when an accident strikes. Have you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence? the Brooks Law Group has your back. Our attorneys and staff are committed to providing the best client experience possible. We fight tirelessly for justice on behalf of every one of our clients. Call our offices at 1-800-LAW-3030 today or fill out our Free Case Review form on our website today for your free, no obligation case evaluation. Our clients don’t pay us anything unless we recover compensation for their case. Connect with a law firm that cares about you today. Connect with the Brooks Law Group!

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.