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Captain in Missouri duck boat accident that killed 17 is charged with seaman's manslaughter - Washington Post
The statute that McKee was charged under is known colloquially as seaman’s manslaughter and dates to an era when steamboat disasters were commonplace, killing hundreds of people in fires and boiler explosions. In 1838, Congress passed legislation stating that captains and crew could be held criminally liable if anyone on board died as a result of their misconduct, negligence or inattention to duties.
“Until recently, prosecutions under the Seaman’s Manslaughter Statute were a rare event,” Jeanne Grasso, a partner at Blank Rome LLP who specializes in maritime law, wrote in a 2005 article in Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin . From 1848 to 1990, she wrote, there had been only eight major prosecutions under the law. But between 1998 and 2005, the statute was used to prosecute boat captains and crew members in seven major cases.
After three people died when a charter fishing boat sank in Oregon’s Winchester Bay in 2005, federal prosecutors charged the captain, Richard J. Oba, with three counts of seaman’s manslaughter. “The sinking of the Sydney Mae II is being used by the federal authorities to send a message to thousands of boat operators that they can face years in prison if people die while on board a ship under their command,” the New York Times reported , citing an anonymous Justice Department official. Oba was ultimately sentenced to six years in prison, which federal prosecutors said was “believed to be the longest ever in this type of case.”
Because the statute asks the government to prove simple negligence rather than gross negligence, critics say it holds mariners to a higher standard than workers in other industries and makes it more likely that they’ll face criminal charges for a job-related accident. “You can go to jail working on a ship for something you cannot go to jail for working on a bus or a train,” Douglas Stevenson, the director of the Seamen’s Church Institute’s Center for Seafarers' Rights, told trade journal Professional Mariner in 2007. The center, as well as other maritime industry groups, lobbied Congress to modify the statute that year but were unsuccessful.
After the July tragedy at Table Rock Lake, survivors and family members of the victims questioned McKee’s decision to take the boat out when thunderstorms were predicted. Carolyn Coleman, who lost nine family members spanning three generations, told The Washington Post in July that she believed the catastrophe could easily have been avoided.
“Why did that boat even go out?” she said. “When you’re on vacation and you’re touring, you expect whoever’s running these facilities to be alert on weather and anything else in the surroundings that could bring harm to anyone.”
Branson Ride the Ducks, a division of Ripley Entertainment, faces multiple lawsuits from Coleman’s family and the relatives of other victims. Those proceedings involve a different — and equally controversial — piece of maritime law that dates to the 19th century.
Last month, attorneys for Ripley Entertainment invoked the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 in court filings, arguing that the company does not owe any damages to the victims' families because the boat carried no cargo and now has no value. Attorneys for the victims loudly criticized the move, while a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment argued that it was “common in claims related to maritime incidents” and said that the company was already working to settle with the victims.
“We recognize the importance of the grand jury process and are continuing to cooperate with the US Attorney’s Office and other authorities as they determine the facts surrounding the accident that occurred on July 19th,” Suzanne Smagala-Potts, a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, wrote in a Thursday email to The Post. “Above all, we are committed to supporting all our guests, employees, and families who were affected by the accident. We offer our sincere condolences to them, and to...Source: www.washingtonpost.com
Top 5 Things To Do This Weekend in Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Nov. 9-11 - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Fun events for Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties
1. Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival
It's a great weekend to visit our world-famous beach with the Crystal Classic returning to Siesta Key today. The ninth annual event will feature two dozen master sculptors from nine countries building 16 sculptures up to 10 feet tall. Thanks to last year’s success of evening activities, the festival will be open Saturday and Sunday until 9 p.m. this year with live music, drinks at the party tent and another dazzling light display of the spectacular sand creations. 10 a.m to 5 p.m. today and Monday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road, Sarasota. Admission: $10 for adults with various other options including four-day passes. Info for admission and parking/trolley service at siestakeycrystalclassic.com
2. Cortez Stone Crab & Music Festival
Swordfish Grill & Tiki Bar's seventh annual Cortez Stone Crab & Music Festival, benefiting the Manatee Chapter of Fishing for Freedom, will feature plenty of fresh stone crab and other local seafood along with many talented local music acts with national acclaim appearing on three stages including Damon Fowler (4 p.m. Sunday), Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones (noon Saturday), Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio (2 p.m. Sunday) and Berry Oakley's Jive Ass Review (4 p.m. Saturday). There will also be a kids' zone, plenty of local artisans displaying their wares and a large tent to provide protection from the sun or rain. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Cortez Village, 4628 119th St. W., Cortez; attendees are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy, which can be turned in at the tent near the main festival entrance; 941-798-2035; swordfishgrillcortez.com
3. Santa’s Grand Arrival
Christmastime kicks off with the Santa’s Grand Arrival, a free event with family fun like live entertainment provided by the Circus Arts Conservatory and Tampa Bay Lightning, ice skating, snow tubing, a holiday lighting ceremony, fireworks, giveaways and more. The event, which features Santa's entrance at 7 p.m., also marks the opening of The UTC Holidays on The Green experience that's open daily through Jan. 6 and contains a real ice skating rink. 6-10 p.m. today; outside the West Grand Entrance at The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota; free; 941-552-7002; mallatutc.com
4. Beer, Boats and Bacon
Beer, Boats and Bacon is back with tons of bacon-centric foods and 80-plus beers and cocktails to sample. There will also be live music by Justin Layman (1-2:30 p.m.), The Verge (3-5 p.m.) and Summer Survivors (5:30-7 p.m.), with new activities including a homebrewing contest as well as a boat show. 1-7 p.m. Saturday; Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota; $10 general admission; $35 craft beer and cocktail sample, $75 VIP (free for children age 10 and younger); beerboatsandbacon.com
5. Suncoast Food and Wine Fest
The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch’s 17th annual Suncoast Food and Wine Fest charity fundraiser will bring an expected crowd of thousands to this year’s new location, Premier Sports Academy, to sample over 100 wines from around the world and dine on dishes from dozens of restaurants. Live music will be performed by neoclassic rock and blues standouts Kettle of Fish on the main stage and gifted musicians of the Del Couch Music Education Foundation will perform in the VIP tent. 1-4 p.m. Saturday; Premier Sports Academy, 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch; $85 general admission; suncoastfoodandwinefest.com
Find more featured events at ticketsarasota.com.Source: www.heraldtribune.com
Get the ultimate Tampa Bay bucket list from Kristen Hare - Tampa Bay Times
When Kristen Hare moved from Missouri to Tampa Bay with her family, the plan was to stay for one year. That was six years ago, and Hare hasn’t stopped living like a tourist. Hare, a journalist with the Poynter Institute and contributor to the Tampa Bay Times , offers the ultimate bucket list in her book 100 Things to Do in Tampa Bay Before You Di e. Here are a few excerpts.
— Stephanie Hayes, Times staff writer
Find the mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs
Once you’ve taken a swim in the clear blue cold springs at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, you’ll appreciate the hard-working mermaids here. They’ve been performing since 1947, and they twist and turn, slipping their hookah-like oxygen tubes around them as they perform. It is not Broadway underwater, but the play of light, the floating hair, and the shimmering tails make for a great show. They perform The Little Mermaid , of course, and a show that includes a set of tricks such as eating and drinking underwater. The shows are also a great chance to wildlife watch, with turtles and fish making regular guest appearances. After you’ve seen the mermaids, rent a tube and float the lazy river at Buccaneer Bay. You can also enjoy water slides and a river boat cruise that’s included with admission.
Hear the bells at Bok Tower Gardens
Recordings of the bells’ songs play every half hour from this 205-foot Gothic tower surrounded by a small pool of water and twisting black iron gates in Lake Wales. Bok Tower was built in 1929 by Edward Bok, who became editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal . The Dutch immigrant built the fairy-tale tower as a gift to his new country, and it holds sixty carillon bells that ring and sing with live concerts during the weekends through the fall and spring. Bok Tower sits on Iron Mountain, the highest spot in peninsular Florida, and it is surrounded by lovely gardens, mulched paths, and some of nature’s own music, too. While at Bok Tower, visit nearby Pinewood Estates, a 1930s home that you can tour throughout the year.
Take in the view at Fort De Soto
Unlike a lot of the beaches in Tampa Bay, at Fort De Soto Park, the skyline’s just sky. You won’t see any high-rises. You won’t see any condos. You’ll just see blue water and blue horizon. The area, which was first the home of Tocobaga Indians, played a role in defense during both the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. The actual fort was finished in 1900, and you can see what remains today for yourself. Visit the beach here, for sure, which feels quiet and remote. And before you head back to the concrete and traffic, climb the steep stone steps up to the top of the fort and enjoy the uninterrupted views of Tampa Bay.
Things to do in Tampa Bay, things to do this weekend, free things to do with kids ... it's all here at Things to Do. Appropriate name, don't you think? Looking for things to do with your family, or fun things to do with a friend? We have sections on kids, food and dining, events, deals and shopping, Florida travel and, when you're ready for a respite from the kids, date night.Source: www.tampabay.com