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Federal officials calling for more safety improvements in wake of deadly Channel Islands boat fire

Ventura County Fire Department
The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for more boat safety precautions on the third anniversary of the Conception dive boat disaster in the Channel Islands which killed 34 people.

National Transportation Safety Board officials say three years after accident, not all safety recommendations have been implemented.

This weekend marks the third anniversary of a dive boat disaster in the Channel Islands which killed 34 people. Officials with the federal agency which oversaw the investigation say more safety recommendations need to be implemented.

It was September 2, 2019 when a devastating fire swept through the Santa Barbara based dive boat “Conception.” The fire happened during the early morning hours. All 33 passengers, and one of the crew members were trapped in the bunk area below deck, and died.

The National Transportation Safety Board handled the investigation. The cause was never definitively determined, but it was believed overloaded electrical plugs started the blaze.

The NTSB also issued a number of safety recommendations including having adequate escape routes from below deck areas, and adding more smoke detectors.

The Passenger Vessel Association has met the NTSB recommendations.

But, NTSB officials say the Sportfishing Association of California and the National Association of Charterboat Operators haven’t responded yet.

Congress passed a law requiring the Coast Guard to carry out the recommendations.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.