CONCEPTION – The Saga of the Fire on the Conception and why it should matter to you. – Part 1

The more I learn about this tragedy the more I realize that truth will never be revealed.  This might very well have been a deliberate act.  However, the cover up is already in motion.  The legal actions required to protect the money interests are already filed.  Just like the filing that preempted any restitution for Epstein’s victims, the owner’s of the Conception have file a preemptive strike against the victims families before they have even had time to mourn their losses.  

Sadly, we as individual are seen by those in power as having no value.  We are dispensable.  My heart goes out to the families, friends and loved ones of the victims.  I pray that God in His mercy will comfort them and give them strength to endure the coming days. 

There is something that I pray is becoming abundantly clear to EVERYONE.   OUR ENTIRE SYSTEM IS BROKEN!   I don’t even know how it can be fixed.  From the infrastructure to the Executive Office, the system is bogged down, corrupt and failing.  Unfortunately, the rules are made by the people at the top. They have all the money so they make all the rules.  Sadly they are the most degenerate, corrupt, self indulgent, inhumane bunch of scalawags imaginable.  In fact, they are far worse than any of us can imagine.

I hope you understand that INSURANCE and BANKING are the two biggest crimes ever committed on the face of the earth by mortal men.  Those industries are nothing but gangsters, robbing the people blind.  You spend your entire life paying your insurance premium, then when you are old and gray with no more income, your home floods or is destroyed in a storm or fire.   The insurance company finds a loophole to avoid paying you the value of your home and then drops you like a hot potato.   You pay your insurance every month religiously.  You have invested thousands of dollars in protecting you car, which you depend upon.  Then one day you have an accident.  It may not even be your fault.   What happens, your rates go through the roof, or you are dropped altogether.  You are faithful to your bank.  Been doing business there for years.  Participate in all their fund raisers.  You used to know everyone at the bank by first name.  Now they have a new staff and you happen to run into a bit of hard luck.  You need a loan and you need it yesterday.   What happens?  Sorry, ma’am we have no funds available for you at this time, unless you can come up with some collateral equal to the amount you are borrowing.  

And our legal system is in the business of protecting business.  Whether that is Banking, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, Shipping….etc.  You get my drift, No MATTER WHAT BUSINESS… they are going to protect BUSINESS.  Why, because the ELITE OWN EVERYTHING.  So, even if you could afford to go to court against big business (which you can’t), you WILL LOSE!!

Politics is run by the same bunch, I don’t even have time to go there.  And for those of you who think that they really care about protecting the environment.  Check this out, it occurred this week as well. 

By the way, for those of you who love to CRUISE, be aware.  THERE IS NO LAW ON THE OPEN SEA!  NO PROTECTION FOR VICTIMS.  If your loved one goes overboard, is murdered,  or just goes missing… there is nothing anyone is going to do about it.  They won’t even investigate.  Bear that in mind when you are planning your vacation aboard ship.   It seems the only law on the water is “PROTECT THE SHIPPER AT ALL COST”.

But, again, it is not much different on land.  Getting worse everyday it seems.   There is no protection for the innocent.  There is plenty of protection for the guilty!


“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Well, today’s story is about the recent boat fire off the coast of California that has been in the headlines the past week.  I hope you will take some time to review everything in this article.  Once again,  if you must speed through it, read the highlights.  It is a heart wrenching story, with a tragic ending.  I hope you will all think long and hard when you are vacationing or traveling.  Realize that there is no protection for you.   The only ONE you can count on is GOD.   Pray up, and keep HIM with you.  

UPDATE: 7/29/21


First published at 00:38 UTC on September 8th, 2019.

channel image


𝔅𝔯𝔦𝔞𝔫 ℌ𝔢𝔣𝔣𝔫𝔢𝔯 𝟒☈

 Original: This latest enigmatic report directly connects the 09-02-19 events of Hurricane Dorian on the East Coast with the Conception Boat Fire on the West Coast. Once connected, it will be shown to connect to specific historical geographical locations in the middle of the USA that stem from the Jade Helm 15 2015 Walmart store closures that highlighted five stores closing,.

The specific locations when aligned to each other will show to directly and properly connect to both the Conception Boat Fire and Hurricane Dorian when on 09-02-19 Hurricane Dorian stalled in the Bahamas on the same day as the Conception boat fire occurred that killed 34 people.

The events of 09-02-19 connects each event to the historical Jade Helm-15 border invasion concerns and unites all areas into a coded and yet a complete and observable element of fact.

Background Sources and Links:

Conception Boat Fire

Hurricane Dorian
Deadly Hurricane Dorian stalls over Bahamas



Update 9/8/19

Now, we know that the elites who run the world love to sacrifice.  Especially when they can take multiple lives, and especially by Fire.  We also know that Technology Experts, Biologists, Physicians, Researchers, Astronomers, Oceanographers, anyone who has been to Antarctica who might be a risk of exposing anything they are up to are being killed off in great numbers.  It is not far fetched to think that this was NO ACCIDENT.  There are a lot of holes in the story.   Listen to these next two videos to gather some new revelations.   
I have been waiting for the names to be released.  I already knew there was a biologist among them.  Turns out there is so much more.  It seems strange that they have not given us any more names of the victims.  

Victims of the Conception dive boat fire: Here’s what we know about them


Authorities were identifying victims using the same rapid-DNA technology officials relied on after last year’s Camp Fire in Butte County.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department released the names of nine victims Friday morning after relatives were notified. A number of the victims had already been identified by friends, relatives, schools or employers. Others whose names have not been released by the Sheriff’s Department have been identified by friends, family or associates.

Here is a list of passengers who have been identified:

Andrew Fritz, 40, and his wife Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, died in the fire

Dahood-Fritz was a marine biologist who had recently finished her PhD and had just started a career working to protect marine life in California, Fisher said. Fritz was a photography instructor. The couple had recently moved from Taylor, Texas, to Sacramento, according to multiple news outlets.

Dahood-Fritz was a senior scientist and policy advisor at the Ocean Protection Council, according to that agency’s website. Before joining the council in April, she worked on Antarctic environmental science with the National Science Foundation. Dahood-Fritz was a research scientist who traveled to Antarctica often.  She earned a master’s degree from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a statement, called Dahood-Fritz a “highly accomplished and respected scientific researcher (who) cared deeply about the ocean and biodivesity.”  “Adrians’s passion and enthusiasm will be greatly missed,” the governor said.

Allie Kurtz

Crew member Allie Kurtz, 25, of Santa Barbara, did not survive the fire, according to her mother, Cherie McDonough, who flew to California from Cincinnati and spoke to reporters Tuesday. She described her daughter as “ a go-getter” who was following her dream.

“She loved it here, she loved the boat, she loved diving,” McDonough said.

Kurtz was a volunteer with Channel Islands Restoration, according to a Facebook post from the organization. She graduated from Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts, the school told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Her father, Rob Kurtz, said his daughter left the film industry to follow her passion for boating and diving. “The only sense of comfort right now is knowing she passed doing what she loved,” Rob Kurtz wrote in a message shared to a GoFundMe page.

Kurtz, who began at Paramount in 2014, worked her way up from an executive’s assistant to a creative ad manager. She helped develop campaigns for the Mission Impossible movies, and worked on the marketing teams and developed TV spots. 

It’s been reported that Kurtz left Hollywood to pursue her dream of being a dive instructor. But according to former colleagues, her reasons were more nuanced.  

“She didn’t leave Paramount to just be a dive instructor,” said Brian Pianko, Paramount’s executive vp worldwide creative advertising and Kurtz’s close friend and former boss, “She literally left to save the world.” Pianko says Kurtz told him she had plans to pursue a graduate degree in marine biology so that she could work on saving reefs. Kurtz was a volunteer at Reef Check California, an environmental NGO that helps monitor the health of the state’s coastlines, and spent free time exploring her adopted state’s marine byways with her boyfriend of several years. 

Berenice Felipe

Pacific Collegiate School student Berenice Felipe, 16, was also among the victims, the school reportedly said in a letter to the community. Felipe and Tia Salika were good friends, according to NBC.

Wei Tan

Wei Tan, 26, a recent graduate school alumna of UC Berkeley who studied industrial engineering was identified as a victim by her sister.

Ms Tan Wei graduated from a Master of Engineering course at UC Berkeley, specialising in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, earlier this year.

She had been working as a data scientist at a tech company in Santa Barbara for just four months before the events of Monday night.

Kristian Takvam and Caroline McLaughlin

Brilliant confirmed that two of its employees, Kristian Takvam and Caroline McLaughlin, 35, died in the fire.

They both worked for San Francisco-based Brilliant, a website that creates interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses. McLaughlin was a senior software engineer and Takvam was vice president of engineering.

“The loss of Carrie and Kristian is deeply heartbreaking for all of us at Brilliant,” the company said in a statement. “Carrie and Kristian were incredible friends and colleagues who brought immense passion, talent, leadership, and warmth, and they will be missed dearly. Our hearts are with their families and friends.”

Takvam was raised in Austin and graduated from the University of Dallas with a physics degree. He met his wife in 2009.

“Kris and his wife may have shared their brainiac banter, they are also some of the most down to earth, thoughtful and humble people you could meet,” his sister, Katrina Takvam, wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

Katrina Takvam said her brother was an avid cave diver who got together with his college friends once or twice a year to dive. He felt more at home in the water than on land, she said.

“His family takes solace in knowing that he passed away doing what he loved with one of his coworkers,” Katrina Takvam wrote.

Charles McIlvain and Marybeth Guiney

The Malibu Divers, a diving shop, identified Santa Monica residents Charles McIlvain and Marybeth Guiney, 51, as victims and asked fellow divers to share memories on Facebook.

McIlvain was a visual effects designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. His wife, Jasmine Lord, was not on the boat. She shared old pictures of the couple Tuesday on Facebook.

Daniel Garcia and Yulia Krashennaya

Apple confirmed employee Daniel Garcia, 46, was on the boat at the time of the fire, and his friends and relatives confirmed on Facebook that his partner, 40-year-old Yulia Krashennaya, also died. The couple lived in Berkeley.

Dan Garcia worked for Apple. According to media reports, the company said he was “as passionate about his job at Apple as he was about his love of diving.” said Deirdre O’Brien, a senior vice president for the company. 

Brian Pinkham, a friend of Garcia’s, said there were “just so many facets to Dan.” His friend touched many lives “whether as an online community leader, LED wizard, event organizer, deeply caring friend, brilliant co-worker, and the list goes on.”

“It’s with very heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of two of our colleagues in the tragic boat fire,” O’Brien added. “We share our deepest condolences with their families and friends.”

Krashennaya was a product manager for Cisco Global Event Marketing and worked in technology, data and analytics at SpiraLinks, according to her LinkedIn page.    

Kristy Finstad

Kristy Finstad, of Santa Cruz, chartered the dive excursion through her company, Worldwide Diving Adventures. She worked for the city of Santa Cruz for a decade on watershed protection and health and education issues before leaving to work for the family diving business full time, city officials said.

“The horrific incident is being felt deeply by our community,” Santa Cruz Mayor Martine Watkins said. “We are in disbelief at what has happened, and our hearts go out to the families of all of those who are waiting for news on their loved ones.”

Scott Jackson, who owns Bay Area Scuba in Burlingame, said he’s known the Finstad family for years and the tragic fire came as a shock.

“They’re really good at what they do. Safety first, always,” Jackson said.

He described Finstad as “friendly,” which made people “tend to listen to her.”

The Quitasol, Sison family

Five members of a Stockton family were on the Conception, according to family, friends and employers.

Susana Solano Rosas shared “with a broken heart” in a Facebook post that her daughters — Evanmichel Solano Quitasol, Nicole Storm Quitasol and Angela Rose Quitasol — along with the women’s father, Michel Quitasol, were on the boat when it became engulfed in flames. The daughters’ stepmother, Fern Sison, was also there, according to a fundraiser for the family.

Evanmichel Quitasol was a nurse at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, according to a Dignity Health spokesperson, while Michel Quitasol and Fern Sison were former longtime staff members.

Lincoln Unified School District in Stockton (San Joaquin County) confirmed in a statement that Angela Rose Quitasol, a science teacher at Sierra Middle School, was on the boat at the time of the fire.

“For Angela, students were her focus,” district officials said. “She shared her passion for science with them and greeted them every day with a high five and a bright smile. We are all deeply saddened by this terrible incident and hold her family, and all those affected, in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”

Nicole Quitalos, of San Diego, was a bartender at Nicky Rottens Bar and Burger Joint in Coronado, according to a Facebook post from the bar. Her friend, Jenny Eidman, said Nicole Quitalos visited her family in the Stockton area every month.

“No matter the mood or the horrible circumstance, she always could keep people in good spirits,” Eidman said.

Lisa Fiedler

Lisa Fiedler, a 52-year-old hairdresser and photographer from Mill Valley, was also aboard the Conception, friends and family said.

Fiedler loved being on or in the water and had been diving for several years, two friends said. They described her as an independent person with a passion and gift for capturing arresting moments of nature and wildlife with her photography. Fiedler often took trips to Yosemite, Oregon and Big Sur on her own.

Whenever Fiedler would go on a diving trip, she would send pictures of sea creatures to Kreps’ 4-year-old son, Walker, who called her “titi,” as in aunt. He was especially fond of her pictures of octopuses.

Neal Baltz and Patricia Beitzinger

Neal Baltz and Patricia Beitzinger traveled to California from Phoenix for the diving trip, Neal’s father, John Baltz, told Phoenix’s ABC15.

“They went to heaven doing something they loved together,” he said.

Raymond “Scott” Chan and Kendra Chan

Raymond “Scott” Chan, a high school physics teacher in Fremont, and his 26-year-old daughter, Kendra Chan, a wildlife biologist, were among those aboard the dive boat, according to Fremont Unified School District.

‘She was a force for good’

After graduation, she worked as a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where she conducted wildlife surveys of various Southern California fauna, from brown pelicans to monarch butterflies. She began her time with the agency three years ago in Portland, Oregon, as part of its Directors Fellowship program before relocating to the Ventura office

In addition to her work, Chan volunteered with BeachCOMBERS, a project that trains volunteers on gathering data about dead mammals and birds along the shoreline in order to track information about the ecosystem’s health. She was also undergoing training with the Reef Check Foundation to survey the health of coral reefs. 

Raymond Chan taught for three years at American High in Fremont, said Ken Blackstone, public information officer with the school district.

“Mr. Chan was a beloved teacher at AHS among students and colleagues,” district officials said. “His students knew him to be an innovative and inspiring teacher who developed a passion for physics among his students. His loss is a tremendous tragedy for our school district.”

Vicky Moore, a wife and mother to the victims, told KTVU that Kendra Chan worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Ventura County.

Steve Salika, Diana Adamic and Tia Salika

Steve Salika was aboard the boat with his wife, Diana Adamic, and their daughter, 17-year-old Tia Salika, according to Apple.

“Steve was a 30-year Apple veteran whose energy and enthusiasm touched so many people across our company throughout his career,” company officials said. “He met his wife at Apple and was aboard with her and their daughter.”

Tia Salika was a student at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, according to a school letter to the community.

Kaustubh Nirmal and Sanjeeri Deopujari

A couple from Stamford, Conn., Kaustubh Nirmal, 44, and Sanjeeri Deopujari, 31, were killed in the boat fire, Nirmal’s cousin told the Los Angeles Times.

Nimral had a career in finance and Deopujari was a dentist.

Justin Carroll Dignam

Justin Carroll Dignam, a 58-year-old founder and CEO of a payroll company, was reported missing by the company’s president in a message to the company’s email list.

Dignam was identified by the Sheriff’s Department as a resident of Anaheim.

Dignam played water polo at the University of Richmond, then coached at Iona College and Wesleyan University. He also served as a referee. His company, Big Fish, partnered with USA Water Polo to provide payroll services, according to the organization’s website.  The company began a partnership with Team USA Water Polo, which practices in Irvine, back in 2010. 

He worked for ADP for more than 17 years before striking out on his own, according to his company biography.

“We are honoring Justin with our actions by continuing to run the business that he built with honor and commitment,” said Jeff Hill, president of Big Fish Employer Services.

Ted Strom

A resident of Germantown, Tenn., 62-year-old Ted Strom was identified by sheriff’s officials Friday as a victim.

Dr Sunil Singh Sandhu

Dr. Singh Singaporean research scientist, 46, is feared dead after a boat that he was on caught fire off the coast of California. (Photo: Facebook/Sunil Sandhu) The other Singaporean on the boat, Dr Singh, is a research scientist who has a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Anna Bauman, Pete Grieve and Alejandro Serrano are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: and Twitter: @abauman2 @pete_grieve @serrano_alej

Q Anon: Look Who Was on Board the Boat That Burned and Claimed 34 Lives

UPDATE 9/8/19
By Josey Wales (Reporter)

I’m sharing this video, but be reminded that this video creator is advertising for the cronies that are destroying this country. To me this is a Red Flag!

The interesting subject matter is the Boat Fire that has claimed 34 lives, who were the people on that boat. 

This video walks you through who was on the boat and why it matters. 

Just beware, think, question, research…. 

QNews: Do We Have MORE Than We Know?      Start at Minute mark 24:27 

I agree , there killing off the Police that seen the video on Weinner’s labtop !

Associated Press
Published on Sep 2, 2019
A person making a radio distress call to the Coast Guard from a dive boat on fire off California said that he couldn’t breathe and there were people trapped on board. (Sept., 2)

Published on Sep 2, 2019

Ventura County officials “fear numerous fatalities” as rescue operations are underway for boat on fire near Santa Cruz Island, California, Monday morning.

The dispatcher can be heard asking, “Can you get back on board and unlock the boat?” after the Conception went up in flames with 39 people on board

By Rachel DeSantis
September 03, 2019 09:56 AM

A distressing mayday call made shortly after a diving boat carrying 39 people burst into flames early Monday has raised questions about the circumstances surrounding the blaze, including whether or not the doomed passengers were trapped below deck.

The Conception, a 75-foot commercial diving boat, caught fire around 3:30 a.m. local time on Monday off the coast of Santa Cruz Island in California, while all 33 passengers and one crew member were asleep below deck.

Five crew members, the only ones awake at the time, managed to escape the flames and paddle in a dinghy to a nearby boat, where they were rescued by Shirley Hansen and her husband Bob Hansen, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll said crews had located the bodies of 25 people as of Monday night, NBC News reports.

Audio of a mayday call reveals that the dispatcher made several references to the passengers being “locked” inside the boat, with no means of escape from the flames.

“There’s 33 people on board the vessel, they can’t get off?” he asks, to which he receives no audible response in the audio obtained by journalist Matthew Keys. “Are they locked inside this boat?”


Only the dispatcher can be heard speaking, and it remains unclear as to whether he is repeating what he heard back to the caller, or if he is asking the questions himself. Nothing he says is affirmatively answered by the caller, who told the dispatcher, “I can’t breathe,” earlier in the call.

“Can you get back on board and unlock the boat? Unlock the door so they can get off?” the dispatcher asks.

He then inquires as to whether the passengers have access to equipment to help them quell the flames.

“You don’t have any firefighting gear at all, no fire extinguishers or anything?” he asks.

Just before the audio ends, the dispatcher says, “There’s no escape routes for any of the people on board?”

The idea that the boat’s passengers may have been trapped on the boat was echoed by Mr. Hansen, who told NBC News that the crew members he and his wife rescued said below deck exits had been blocked.


“The five guys are there in their dinghy, they’re asking me to help them, and their boat is just 400 yards away, fully engulfed,” said Hansen. “They said all of [their passengers] were underneath. They told me then that there was another exit, but that exit was also blocked.”

RELATED: Rob Lowe Says He’s Been on California Boat ‘Many Times’ as 25 Reported Dead in Tragic Fire

It remains unclear just where the exits were located, and whether they were either blocked or locked.

Hansen said several of the crew members were emotionally distraught, with one saying his girlfriend had been on board and did not make it off the boat.

“They felt so helpless. They said that with everything — so much on fire, so much that they just couldn’t get to them,” he said.

Dave Reid and wife Terry Schuller, who have both traveled on the Conception in the past, told local CW affiliate KTLA that the boat’s sleeping area is “tight,” with bunk beds that are stacked next to each other.

Reid told the outlet that in order to get to the top deck, passengers must navigate a narrow stairway with only one exit.

Image result for The Conception

A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman reportedly said Monday that the Conception “has been in full compliance” and “we are working deliberately with the vessel owner-operator who is with us at the time.” Truth Aquatics, which owns the Conception, could not be immediately reached by PEOPLE. Representatives from the company declined to comment to other news outlets.

The diving boat was wrapping up a three-day Labor Day weekend trip when the fire broke out. It was scheduled to return Monday morning.

The Coast Guard and local fire departments responded, but the boat, which had been ravaged by the fire, sank into the water around 7:20 a.m. local time on Monday.

“When we looked out, the [Conception] was totally engulfed in flames, from stem to stern,” Hansen told the New York Times. “I could see the fire coming through holes on the side of the boat. There were these explosions every few beats. You can’t prepare yourself for that. It was horrendous.”

The cause of the fire and additional information about the total number of victims and their identities was not immediately available.

A crew member said that one of the victims was likely a 17-year-old girl traveling with her family, one of three people to celebrate a birthday during the trip, Shirley Hansen told the Los Angeles Times.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will investigate.

Published on Sep 2, 2019

Distress call from boat that caught fire released (CNN Newsource)
A distressing mayday call made shortly after a diving boat carrying 39 people burst into flames early Monday has raised questions about the circumstances surrounding the blaze, including whether or not the doomed passengers were trapped below deck.

The Conception, a 75-foot commercial diving boat, caught fire around 3:30 A.M.

The captain of Monday’s doomed Santa Cruz boat describes in a chilling distress call how all of his passengers are trapped below deck — “with no escape hatch.”

Audio of the harrowing 3:14 a.m. recording includes a Coast Guard operator first frantically asking for information on the emergency off the coast of southern California.

“What is the emergency? Over. … Conception, what is the emergency? Over!” the operator says, referring to the diving tour boat.

A man who later identifies himself as the captain responds, “On board a vessel on fire.”

“Your vessel is on fire? Roger. Are you aboard the Conception?” the Coast Guard worker asks.

The captain confirms he is from the craft and says, “There’s 33 people on board the vessel on fire. They can’t get off.”

The Coast Guard worker responds, “Roger. Are they locked inside the boat? Roger. Can you get back on board and unlock the doors so they can get off? Roger. You don’t have any firefighter gear at all, no fire extinguishers or anything?”

The captain’s reply is unclear.

The Coast Guard operator says, “Is this the captain of the Conception?”

“Roger,” the man says.

The Coast Guard worker asks, “Was that all the crew that jumped off?”

The unidentified captain replies, “Roger.”

The operator asks, “Is the vessel fully engulfed now?

The captain replies, “Roger. And there’s no escape hatch for any of the people on board.”

The Coast Guard worker asks, “How far away are you from the boat right now?”
The captain’s answer is unclear amid the static.

“Are there any other vessels in that area that can help with firefighting?” the operator asks.

Only static can be heard on the recording.

The Coast Guard worker is then heard putting out a general distress call, saying it “received a report of a vessel on fire with 33 people, correction, 34 people, trapped below deck … Any vessel in the area that can rend any assistance, please do so.”

A man responds through the emergency radio channel, “I heard a mayday call there … I’m 15 minutes away from that location. Would I be of assistance in that time frame?”

The operator replies, “If you could respond, we would appreciate it. Also, if you have any firefighting gear, hose, anything like that, that would be great.”

Another nearby boat — the Grape Escape, which rescued crew members including the captain — is involved in another exchange with an emergency operator.

“Is the captain of the vessel on your vessel?” a Coast Guard worker asks the captain of the Grape Escape, who replies yes. first reported on the audio.

There also was audio posted online that included a man screaming, “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” and “I can’t breathe!”

All five crew members including the captain were on the bridge at the time of the pre-dawn fire and escapted, authorities said.

Thirty of the 34 passengers aboard have yet to be accounted for. Rescue workers recovered four bodies near the ship Monday afternoon.

California boat fire: A Labor Day weekend diving adventure. Then disaster struck

The Conception caught fire early Monday off Santa Cruz Island.

The Conception caught fire early Monday off Santa Cruz Island near the Ventura County coast.
(Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

The operators of the Conception described the Labor Day diving charter as the perfect time to experience the marine life of the Channel Islands.

“The beginning of September is the best time to be at San Miguel [Island], which see strong winds and swell during much of the year. This rarely visited island is loaded with color: anemones, crabs, nudibranchs covering every inch of wall with a rainbow,” Truth Aquatics, which owns the Conception, said on its website. “Great for macro-photography. Nutrient rich waters bathing this island bring BIG fish: halibut, bugs, rockfish, wolfeels, lingcod.”

The Conception departed Saturday with dozens aboard and was set to return to the harbor Monday at 5 p.m.

Authorities now say the Conception caught fire Monday morning. Coast Guard officials said four bodies had been recovered and up to 30 people were believed to be missing. Five crew members managed to get off the boat, which was largely destroyed.

Conception, the boat that caught fire

Conception, the boat that caught fire off the Channel Islands.
(Truth Aquatics)

It appeared those missing were sleeping below deck when the fire broke out and might not have gotten out. Authorities said they got word of the fire from a mayday call around 3:30 a.m. The Coast Guard and some private vessels responded.

“The vessel currently has a portion of the bow sticking out of the water,” the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Family members of those who took the charter are now desperate for word about their loved ones, some gathering at Ventura Harbor.

Image result for California Boat Fire
Photo Credit

At Santa Barbara Harbor, Truth Aquatics employees declined to comment, saying they were waiting to hear from the Coast Guard. Employees were hugging each other as tourists and people going fishing were boarding the Truth boat.

The Conception is a 75-foot vessel. The tour advertises gourmet meals, extensive diving opportunities and discussions about the marine ecosystem from a naturalist on board.

Image result for California Boat Fire
Photo Credit: Hollywood Mourns Colleagues Lost – California boat fire

Truth Aquatics is a respected name in the diving world, running several boats off the Channel Islands. Owner Glen Fritzler won the California Scuba Service Award earlier this year for his pioneering work in the industry.

According to California Diving News , Fritzler built the Conception in 1981 and it was a major part of his life and business.

“Conception was California’s crown jewel of live-aboard dive boats. It’s also where Glen met the love of his life, Dana. On the couple’s first dive together they encountered a 17-foot great white shark, truly a memorable first dive-date experience,” Diving News reported.

Fritzler told the paper his firm’s boats had hosted more than 450,000 divers and over 1 million California dives.

In 2005, the Conception made headlines when a man described by authorities as a homeless drifter stole the vessel. According to the Lompoc Record, the boat was stolen from Santa Barbara Harbor and sustained damage when the suspect hit several other boats.


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The 75-foot dive boat Conception was considered one of the best of its kind in the region, and both it and its operator, Truth Aquatics Inc., were in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. (Obviously, then the Coast Guard regulations are inadequate for protecting passengers.)

That all changed Monday in the flash of a predawn fire near Santa Cruz Island, when the Conception sank in flames, taking with it more than 30people who were below deck in bunk beds, apparently unable to get out.

The cause has yet to be determined, but regardless of what sparked and fueled the fire, this much is clear: Once it started, it was too late for most of those on board to safely escape.  

A commercial diving boat caught fire near the shoreline of Santa Cruz Island, Calif., early Monday. Many aboard the boat were believed to be sleeping below deck when the fire broke out in the pre-dawn hours.
Sep. 4, 2019

“This is probably the worst-case scenario you could possibly have,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Monday, noting the boat’s remote location and the time of day — about 3:15 a.m. — when the passengers were probably asleep.

“So you can imagine that of all scenarios: to be in a remote location, have a fire that occurs, have limited, if any, firefighting capabilities that could address that, and then to have all of a sudden a fire that spread very, very rapidly — you couldn’t ask for a worse situation,” he said.

Only the five crew members, who were topside and awake when the fire took hold, managed to escape. At least 15 people were confirmed dead. Some bodies were found inside the ship. Others were recovered outside of it, said Lee Waldron, operations division chief of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The National Transportation Safety board is investigating the accident, along with Santa Barbara County fire and sheriff’s departments.

 The Conception was one of three dive boats operated out of Santa Barbara Harbor by Truth Aquatics Inc., owned by Glen Fritzler, who began diving as a 12-year-old and has been with the company since 1979.

Others familiar with the Conception and its operator said they were shocked to learn it was involved in such an accident.

“Truth Aquatics runs one of the best operations, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business,” said Ralph Clevenger, a photographer who regularly shoots pictures for the company and has been on hundreds of its dive trips since the 1990s. “Most of its customers are return customers.”

The wood-hulled Conception was built in Long Beach in 1981, according to Coast Guard records and the company’s website, and was powered by 550-horsepower Detroit Diesel engines, with a total fuel capacity of 1,600 gallons.

The below-deck sleeping area had 20 single bunks and 13 doubles, some stacked three-high, to accommodate up to 46 people.

At the bow end of the bunk room was a curving staircase that led up to the galley area. Toward the stern, an escape hatch was situated above one of the bunks and led to the salon deck, which included the galley.

OK, here is the ship.  I see no winding staircase and I see the escape hatch is in the showroom.  BOTH exits are very near to each other in the same part of the boat.  How is that good fire safety planning.  That means if the fire is in that part of the boat (which is the nearest to the kitchen where the cook was making breakfast, then you are guaranteed to be trapped.)

Image result for The Conception
Photo Credit: Pasadena Star News

OH BUT WAIT…  We have another version of the layout of the ship.  Now, this one is more in line with what the crew described.  I see the winding staircase and it is VERY NARROW.    I also see that “easy access, escape hatch, blocked only by a piece of pressboard” as they said.  IT IS ON THE TOP BUNK OF ONE THE THE TRIPLE STACKED BUNKS!  Holy cow.  Can you imagine how hard those bunks are to get in and out of???  And they had to get 34 people through that hole.  ARE YOU KIDDING???  THAT IS THEIR FIRE SAFETY PLAN???  That is just the only place that they could put a hole in the ship so they could say they had two places to escape to meet the code.   THEY WERE NOT THINKING OF THE SAFETY OF THEIR PASSENGERS!  

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times



“It’s on a ceiling of the bunk room or the floor of the galley,” said Bruce Rausch, 69, a veteran dive master in Orange County and a retired San Onofre nuclear engineer who’d been on more than a dozen dive trips aboard the Conception. “All you have to do is get up to a bunk and keep going up and you use the bunk as ladders.”   (They do not mention that it is only wide enough for one person at a time, or that there is not lighting.)

It is not known if those in the bunk area were cut off from the exits by smoke or flames.  (How could you be cut off by smoke?)

Rausch and others who had been aboard the Conception told The Times that fire extinguishers were accessible to those in the bunk area, which also included smoke alarms designed to trigger emergency lighting when activated (So, the emergency lighting is only triggered by the smoke alarms.  However, the crew said they heard no smoke alarms. Clearly, they did not go off, therefore the victims were left in the dark.)

He and others said that before all dives, the boat’s captain conducted extensive safety briefings covering the use of life jackets and lifeboats, the location of the escape hatch and methods of traversing the staircase.

Kristy Finstad, a 41-year-old marine biologist, was among those initially unaccounted in the boat fire off California’s Channel Islands.
Sep. 3, 2019

Clevenger said he had never seen any hint of fire hazards or other safety issues. The escape hatch was easily accessible, he said, covered only by a piece of plywood. (maybe easilty accessible for one person,  how easy would it be to get 34 people out in the dark, with a fire raging above?)

Joe Belanger, a dive photographer who has been on the Conception, also described the accessibility of the escape hatch and stairway in a Facebook post, but noted the perilous conditions that passengers apparently encountered early Monday.

Finding your way out, though, at 3:30 a.m. when there is no electricity but thick smoke and flames is impossible,” he wrote.

U.S. Coast Guard records document regular inspections of the ship, including in February of this year and August 2018, which did not indicate any violations.

Previous inspections show deficiencies related to fire safety that were promptly corrected, including a 2017 replacement of a fire extinguisher and a 2016 replacement of a heat detector in the galley’s fire detection system. A leaking fire hose was replaced in 2014 and emergency lighting below deck appears to have been installedin 2009, according to the records. (Well, why did neither the heat detectors nor the smoke detectors sound off?  Why was the emergency lighting contingent on the smoke detector going off?)

Boat fires often start in engine compartments, where fuel and an ignition source can come together. Other such fires have been traced to electrical sources, such as wiring harnesses or batteries, or to external causes such as fires in marinas or storage facilities.

At least 20 people have been confirmed dead on the dive boat Conception after it caught fire early Monday and sank near Santa Cruz Island.
Sep. 3, 2019

Although it’s not known what caused the Conception fire, it is likely that pure oxygen was on board. An online agenda of the trip indicates that Nitrox — a blend of pure oxygen and air — was available for divers.

Pure oxygen is not combustible or flammable on its own, but it is a fire’s feed, and can turn a spark into a raging blaze. Because of the inherent danger involved in handling the gas, certification is required to mix and fill scuba tanks holding pure oxygen.

Scuba tank explosions are extremely rare in the United States. In 2011, a St. Petersburg, Fla., man died after a faulty tank exploded, creating a 100-foot-wide debris field. (Well, we know that witnesses heard multiple explosions going off at regular intervals.)

Scuba tanks are required to be tested every five years by a Department of Transportation-licensed inspector. A stamp on the cylinder shows the most recent inspection date.

Ashley Arnold, owner of Jade Scuba Adventures in Huntington Beach, said the tanks and equipment used by divers using Nitrox or pure oxygen are engineered with particular materials and chemicals designed to suppress accidental fire. And divers and instructors using pure oxygen must have special training.

Image result for Conception fire
Photo Credit: USA TODAY

Electrical cables were identified as the probable cause in a 2013 fire that broke out on a diving vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. The NTSB determined that the metal bands used to install the cables chafed the protective coating, which offered a likely ignition point. Crew tried to douse the flames with portable extinguishers but the fire was ultimately controlled by the ship’s built-in suppression system. None of the 42 people aboard were injured.

In July 2018, a fishing ship off the coast of Alaska caught fire in the early morning. Crew members tried to douse the flames with portable extinguishers but they had to abandon ship and escape to a nearby fishing boat. The NTSB determined the fire probably began in the engine room from an unknown source.

The Conception was also involved in diving accidents that turned deadly. The most recent occurred 2016, when a diver ascended to the surface faster than the rest of his group and became unresponsive while swimming toward the boat. A medical examiner concluded he drowned, with heart disease as a contributing factor.

The boat made headlines in 2005 when it was stolen from Santa Barbara Harbor, allegedly by a 41-year old homeless man who damaged several other boats with it before beaching it at Vandenberg Air Force Base, records show.


California dive boat owner asks judge to limit payouts to victims’ families

A drone photo shows the 75-foot Conception on May 3.

A drone photo shows the 75-foot Conception on May 3.
(From Don Barthelmess)

The owners of the California diving boat that burned during a Labor Day weekend charter near Santa Barbara, killing 34 people aboard, have turned to a 19th century maritime law to argue they should not have to pay any money to the families of victims.

In their petition filed Thursday, attorneys for the owners Truth Aquatics Inc., Glen Fritzler and his wife, Dana, cite an 1851 statute in asking a judge to eliminate their financial liability or lower it to an amount equal to the post-fire value of the boat, or $0.

The Conception ignited early on Sept. 2, burned for hours and sank near the Channel Islands. It is now worthless, according to the Fritzlers’ federal court filing in the Central District of California.

“It is pretty heartless when not all the bodies have been recovered to file something saying their lives are worthless,” Mongeluzzi said.

In a statement posted Friday morning on the Truth Aquatics’ Instagram page, the company said the legal step was “another unfortunate side of these tragedies.””When something like this happens, insurance companies and numerous stakeholders convene and activate a legal checklist. The timing is on them. Our hearts and minds are on the tragedy and finding answers.”

None of the victims’ relatives have sued the Fritzlers or Truth Aquatics, but in court filings, the owners say they’ve received notice for legal claims.

Law firms are also reaching out to victims’ families. At a makeshift memorial this week in Santa Barbara harbor, an administrator at a personal injury law firm approached Steve Quitasol, the brother of a man who died in the fire with his three daughters and their stepmother. Laura Rosales told Quitasol that three families of victims had retained the law firm, and she urged him to meet with her.

“It’s not about saying that the staff or crew was wrong, it’s about [safety] protocols,” Rosales told him at the memorial. “It’s about the insurance company that insured the Conception.”

Legal experts said the owners of the Conception effectively won their first victory in the post-fire litigation by filing the petition before victims initiated court actions.

Daniel Rose, a veteran New York-based maritime attorney, said if victims had filed lawsuits first in state courts, they could be eligible for significant damages. By filing the petition, Conception owners could be able to direct any future lawsuit to federal court and prevent substantial payouts.

“It brings all the claims into one court,” added Michael Karcher, a professor of maritime law at the University of Miami. He emphasized that the petition still faced hurdles and that it was not absolute.

To win, the Fritzlers will have to show in court that their company was not to blame for the inferno. Lawyers for the victims’ families will presumably challenge the effort but will be required to show that the owners knew or should have known of the risk of harm.

The law, the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, has been used routinely by ship operators, including the owner of the Titanic. In recent years, it has been invoked by the owners in the Deep Water Horizon oil rig disaster, the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship in 2015 and duck boat deaths such as the 2018 sinking in Missouri that killed 17 .

Sep. 3, 2019

Rose called it a “distasteful old law” that traces to the days when the shipping industry could not obtain insurance. Now, it is those insurers — not the boat owner or operator — who push for such a strategy, since they may bankroll the defense.

“It is certainly a tactic, but shipping owners aren’t bluffing; it is the law,” he added.

Posted: 7:07 PM, Sep 06, 2019 
Updated: 9:07 PM, Sep 06, 2019

The California company that owned the scuba diving boat that caught fire and killed 34 people says a lawsuit it filed to head off litigation from families of the victims is an “unfortunate side” of such tragedies.

Truth Aquatics Inc. says in a statement Friday that the lawsuitis something the family-owned business wouldn’t even consider but pinned the action on insurance companies and other so-called stakeholders.

The vessel burned early Monday off the California coast, with only five crew members surviving. They sued Thursday, invoking a law aimed at protecting the maritime industry.

Critics condemned the move, which comes as victims are still being identified and one remains missing.

Truth Aquatics says the timing is the responsibility of the insurers and stakeholders, and that while the company is grieving, it’s only doing what experts advise.  (WELL, they can’t use that as an excuse.  Greed is the reason.  If they were people of integrity they would stand for what is right, not bow to the money people and the crooked insurance companies.)

In a posting on the Truth Aquatics Facebook page, owner/operator Glen Fritzler wrote:

“My family and I are speaking today with extremely heavy hearts. No words will ease the pain that loved ones are feeling. We extend our deepest condolences to all those involved in this horrific tragedy.

We have not yet made a public statement because we have been working tirelessly with the NTSB to find answers. As a member of the NTSB task force committee, we are prevented from commenting on details of this active investigation. We are committed to finding accurate answers as quickly as possible.  (Wait what?  They are members of the committee that is investigating the fire involving their boat??? And they have been working with the Coast Guard and the NTSB???  Involved in every aspect of the investigation and resolution??  What??)

Yet, we can speak to our emotions. We are utterly crushed. We are devastated. We are a small, family-run business that has taken this event entirely to heart. Our customers are like family to us, many returning for decades. Our crew is family.(I know that people are not unreasonable, and they would have much more respect for these people if they did the right thing, even if there was no way to obtain any restitution. But, cutting them off at the knees before they have even had a chance to process this disaster, is cold blooded and heartless.)

Our lives have been irreversibly changed by this tragedy and the sorrow it has caused. The families and friends of the victims and survivors are now, and forever, in our thoughts and prayers.”  (If they think their lives have been changed, what about the lives of the victim’s survivors?)

Copyright 2019 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

How the Limitation of Liability Act Could Affect Your Claim for Compensation Following a Maritime Accident

Maritime law is very complex, and some of the laws go back centuries. One such law is the Limitation of Liability Act, which is a federal law enacted in 1851 to protect American ship owners. If a family member or you was injured or killed in a maritime accident, you need to understand the Limitation of Liability Act and how a ship owner could use it to limit its responsibility to compensate you for your injuries.

What Is the Limitations of Liability Act?

The Limitations of Liability Act allows vessel owners to limit their liability after a maritime incident or casualty to the post-casualty value of the vessel and its cargo. The incident must happen in United States waters for the law to be used. The Act applies to many ships including:

  • Seagoing vessels.
  • Vessels on lakes, rivers, and in inland navigation.
  • Canal boats.
  • Barges.
  • Lighters.
  • Recreational crafts, such as house boats and jet skis.

Both ship owners and a leaseholder that obtains the possession, control, and command of a vessel can obtain protections under the Act. It applies to claims for cargo damage, collisions, injuries, and some deaths. However, there is an exception to when a vessel owner can escape liability through the use of the Limitation of Liability Act. Owners cannot avoid responsibility when the injury occurred due to the owner’s privity or knowledge. This can be established by showing that the owner knew or should have known of the acts of negligence or unseaworthiness that caused the accident.

How Does a Vessel Owner Assert His Rights Under the Limitation of Liability Act?

Owners of vessels can assert their right to limit their liability in one of two fashions. They can take the following actions:

  • The owner can file a complaint in federal district court to obtain a decision as to whether the Act applies. As part of the lawsuit, the owner would sue the victim of the accident. The owner is allowed to consolidate the claims of all injured victims in this lawsuit, and this is one of the benefits of filing suit in federal court.
  • The owner can raise the Limitation of Liability Act as a defense if he is sued by a victim of an accident.

Having a boat owner raise the Limitations of Liability Act can be devastating to victims of a maritime accident who may find themselves unable to receive full compensation for their injuries due to the owner’s limited liability. In addition, it can seem extremely unfair to be the victim but be the party is being sued instead of the one suing the owner. However, this does not mean that victims cannot defend against the Act’s applicability or raise all their claims.