Water Taxi Insurer Sues Coast Guard

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Insurers for the company that ran the water taxi that capsized in the Inner Harbor, killing five people, sued the U.S. Coast Guard on Feb. 17, claiming the military branch certified the taxi for too many passengers. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The insurance companies allege that the vessel was not properly tested for stability by the Coast Guard before it was put to use and it should not have been allowed to carry 25 people. The boat, run by Seaport Taxi, had just left Fort McHenry on March 6, 2004 with 25 people on board when severe weather moved into the region. Another Seaport captain radioed the Lady D's captain, Francis Deppner, suggesting he steer the boat to shelter. Three minutes later, the Lady D was struck with winds nearing 50 mph, causing the 36-foot long boat to flip. The Coast Guard issued the Lady D a stability letter in 1996, approving it to carry 25 passengers in protected waters. An inspection of the Lady D was waived. The lead plaintiffs are expected to be the Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America, of Philadelphia, and the Continental Insurance Co., of Chicago. (Source: Insurance Journal)

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