USCG Seeks Prankster who Made Fake Distress Calls

Posted by Eric Haun
Thursday, June 19, 2014

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is working to track down a prankster who called in fake distress calls in Washington state that led agency officials to launch two rescue efforts that cost over $200,000, an official said on Thursday.

The suspect made his first call over VHF radio on May 31, reporting he was on a burning fishing vessel in Puget Sound and that he and four other people were grabbing life jackets and jumping off, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Two Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews, the team of a 45-foot Coast Guard rescue boat and the crew of a local Sheriff's Office vessel searched for the fishing boat said to be on fire, but found nothing.

On June 1, the man made a similar call reporting that he and another adult and a child were abandoning a vessel taking on water, the Coast Guard said. The caller initially called his ship the Bristol Maid, the same name he used the night before, but then changed that to the Aleutian Beauty.

Despite that clue the call might be a hoax, the Coast Guard launched a similar rescue operation for the ship, and again did not succeed in finding any vessel in distress, said U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer First Class David Mosley.

"Not knowing if someone is in need, we need to take everything seriously," Mosley said.

The same suspected hoax caller on June 2 reported seeing a dead body on the shore, but the Coast Guard did not dispatch a search team to respond, Mosley said. Seeking to identify the hoax caller, the Coast Guard on Wednesday released recordings of his three bogus transmissions.

Nationally, the U.S. Coast Guard says it dealt with 19 confirmed hoax calls in 2012, the most recent year statistics were available. The same year, the Coast Guard received 156 suspected hoax reports.

If found, the Washington state hoax caller could be charged with making a fake distress call, which carries a term of up to 10 years in prison, Mosley said. He also could be forced to compensate the agency for the two search operations, which cost over $200,000 including maintenance on the helicopters and vessels used, he said.

(By Alex Dobuzinskis; Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

News

PALFINGER Plans to Acquire Harding Group

The PALFINGER Group announced it intends to acquire 100 percent of the shares in Herkules Harding Holding AS and thus, the globally operating Harding Group, suppliers

Winners of Ferry Design Contest Selected

Winners of International Student Design Competition for a Safe Affordable Ferry to be revealed at the Ferry Safety and Technology Conference   Dr. Roberta Weisbrod,

Maritime Consolidation: Palfinger Aims to Acquire Harding

As maritime markets continue to struggle, merger and acquisition activity should heat up. Today, Austria's Palfinger Group announced that it intends to acquire

Coast Guard

Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau Elects New Leaders

Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau Holds Annual Membership Meeting; Elects New Leadership and Votes to Proceed with a Third Party Organization Application to the Coast

Bulker Loses Propulsion off California

The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring a 587-foot bulk carrier Ultra Lascar after the ship lost propulsion at 10:20 a.m., approximately five miles offshore from Daly City, Calif.

New Vessel Registration System for the UK

Oceans HQ, a  provider of specialized software to the world’s Maritime Administrations, has signed an agreement to deliver a new digital Vessel Registration system to the U.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0879 sec (11 req/sec)