John “Jack” Hickey is one of the nation’s foremost experts on maritime law having more than three decades of experience in the industry.
He spent the ﬁrst 17 years of his career representing cruise lines and can offer perspective and insight from several sides of this terrible accident. Of the accident he says,
“This is a horrible tragedy. But what caused it? Fires can happen on any vessel but usually not spontaneously certainly not at 3:15 a.m. when the engines are not running. Why is it that there were crew awake at this hour and that that same crew were able to jump into the water free from the ﬁre? Did whatever they were doing at that hour cause the ﬁre? Were they under the inﬂuence of anything? Will toxicology tests be done on them? What authority will investigate this tragedy?” Hickey says.
“The scene and incident is being investigated by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Coast Guard. The toxicology reports on the 5 crew who survived will be interesting. One of the key questions will be whether the celebrations for the birthday of a 17 year old girl contributed to the cause of the ﬁ re and the inability of others to escape,” Hickey says.
“Agencies will know more when they can access the vessel, go in and examine that forensically. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Ofﬁ ce along with USCG will be interviewing the 5 survivors to ﬁnd out what was happening at 3:15 a.m. to cause this ﬁre,” Hickey says,