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Accident Report Detail

Marine Accident Brief: Grounding and Subsequent Breakup of Dive Vessel King Neptune

Executive Summary

​On the evening of December 30, 2014, in severe weather conditions, the 62-foot-long dive vessel King Neptune broke loose from its moorings in Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island, California. At the time, no one was on board. A harbor patrol officer, who later jumped on board the vessel to try to move it to a safe mooring location, died after falling into the water and becoming pinned between the vessel and a seawall. Under continuous wave action, the King Neptune broke apart and subsequently sank.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the breakup and subsequent sinking of the King Neptune was the failure of the vessel’s mooring equipment in severe weather conditions and the Avalon Harbor Department’s inability to prevent the vessel from drifting ashore. Contributing to the death of the patrol officer who jumped on board was the Avalon Harbor Department’s decision to allow personnel to board a drifting vessel in severe weather conditions without a plan for communication and retrieval.

Accident Location: Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island , CA USA about 40 nautical miles south-southwest of Los Angeles, California; 33°20.8ʹ N, 118°19.6ʹ W
Accident Date: 12/30/2014
Accident ID: DCA15LM010

Date Adopted: 10/27/2015
NTSB Number: MAB1523
NTIS Number:  

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