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Post Info TOPIC: DUCK, DUCK, DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE


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RE: DUCK, DUCK, DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE
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Sure, they worked the last time, try em again...

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It seems the duck crew did everything right.

Mate Piloting Tug In Pa. Duck Boat Crash Takes 5th

PHILADELPHIA (AP)

CBS

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A crew member refusing to talk to federal investigators about a fatal duck boat crash in Philadelphia was piloting the tugboat pushing a barge that slammed into the duck boat, a Coast Guard official said Monday.

The mate exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to meet with investigators over the weekend, according to the National Transportation and Safety Board.

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Todd Gatlin confirmed to The Associated Press that the mate was on duty as the tug pushed a 250-foot barge up the Delaware River. The crew of the duck boat told the NTSB that its radio calls to the tug "received no response," although other boat operators nearby reported hearing them.

The collision last week sank the tourist vessel, dumping 37 people overboard and killing two young Hungarians.

The tug, The Caribbean Sea, had been moved to Philadelphia on June 24, Gatlin said. It previously had been in New York Harbor, according to Joseph Dady, a national tug safety advocate who once piloted the vessel.

The tug's crew consisted of a captain, the mate, an engineer and two deckhands, the NTSB said.

"The mate was on duty ... and the captain was off," Gatlin told the AP.

By law, either the captain or mate must be at the wheel at all times, said Dady, president of the National Mariners Association and a member of the Coast Guard's Towing Safety Advisory Commission.

An 18-year-old trainee had been at the wheel of the duck boat when it entered the water, but the captain took over when the engine appeared to smoke, a passenger said Monday. The pair cut the engine, dropped anchor and were waiting calmly for help for several minutes when they saw the hulking barge bear down on them.

"Our younger fellow was out there flailing and calling, and obviously nobody saw him. I came to find out that nobody was on deck on the barge," passenger Sandy Cohen said Monday from her home in Durham, N.C. "And then they couldn't reach them by radio."

The tug's owner, K-Sea Transportation Partners of East Brunswick, N.J., declined to identify the mate or describe the crew's experience level. Nor would the company say if there was a lookout on the barge, which Dady said is required if the pilot's view from the wheelhouse is significantly obstructed.

K-Sea has provided legal counsel to the five-person crew, but a spokesman could not immediately name the mate's lawyer. The company said it was cooperating fully with the probe.

"If an individual chooses to take the Fifth Amendment, that's fully their right," spokesman Darrell Wilson said.

The captain submitted to an NTSB interview, but NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway would not disclose what he said.

Typically, tug captains and mates rotate six-hour shifts, with one person on duty and the other on break, Dady said. The deckhands also rotate shifts, and the NTSB said one was asleep at the time.

"It's 90 percent boredom and 10 percent sheer terror," Dady said of a tug captain's job.

The amphibious duck boats are a popular way for tourists to see the sights of Philadelphia from both land and water. Two Hungarians visiting the city as part of a language program, 20-year-old Szabolcs Prem and 16-year-old Dora Schwendtner, were missing for two days before their bodies were found.

Ten passengers suffered minor injuries.

The tug was pushing a city-owned barge that carries sludge a few miles downriver to a wastewater treatment plant. The barge -- empty and riding high on the sea -- was making the return trip upriver when it struck the tourist boat about 150 feet from the shoreline, where commercial, tourist and pleasure craft share space in the Delaware River's deep shipping channel.

According to Dady, Coast Guard rules mandate that a pilot make 11 trips on a given waterway before taking the helm. Although the Caribbean Sea had been moved to the Delaware River just weeks earlier, K-Sea may have hired a local crew, Gatlin said.

Dady, who operated The Caribbean Sea decades ago when it bore a different name, said the vessel has good maneuverability. He believes the pilot could have changed course in about a minute and come to a full stop in about three minutes, if he knew of the looming peril.

"If there was a proper lookout posted -- I'm not saying there was or there wasn't -- I would find it hard to believe that he wouldn't have seen that duck boat in time to alert the captain or mate and divert course and prevent the collision," he said.

However, if the boat were drifting, a pilot might have thought it was moving out of the barge's path.

"If that vessel was adrift, it might have given the guy the illusion that he was under way and he was going to cross the bow safely," he said.











( 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



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Shoving blind

New Details Emerge In Duck Boat Tragedy

PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3)

When a city-owned sludge barge loomed down on Duck Boat 34 last Wednesday in the Delaware River, there was no one to sound the alarm. No one from the tug boat's five-man crew was posted at the front of the barge as a lookout.

That's according to Steve Oravets, director of special projects for Local 333 of the United Marine Division, the union that represents the tug crew.

At the time of the accident, three crew members, including the captain, were off duty. The crew works in six-hour shifts, 24 hours a day for two weeks. That just left the mate, who was at the helm, and a deckhand.

The mate has exercised his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and has refused to speak with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Boardmag-glass_10x10.gif.

But Oravets says not posting a lookout on the barge is not out of the ordinary.

"He was operating normal, the way I would have or the way any other tug boat captain would," says Oravets. In situations like that on a clear day which last Wednesday was Oravets says it's common practice to keep the deckhand on the tug.

"Experience tells me I'm more likely to have a problem on the tug than on the barge," he said.

Oravets says part of the problem is the shrinking size of tug boat crews. They used to be staffed by six or seven men, which would allow at least three people on duty at all times. Now, though, most crews have shrunk to five people and some companies would like to staff boats with four.

"The Coast Guard does not issue manning requirements on tugs," said Oravets. "You can't expect the companies to put extra people on board if they're not going to be competitive with their competitors."

Eyewitness News has also learned that the mate has now hired his own lawyer: Philadelphia defense attorney Frank DeSimone. DeSimone represented Eli Karetny, operator of the Heat nightclub on Pier 34 when it collapsed into the Delaware River.

DeSimone would not discuss the duck boat case with Eyewitness News.

Also Wednesday, investigators with the NTSB took a duck boat into the Delaware River for testing. Officials would not say what kind of tests they were running.











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Sounds like they were non-protected getting short crew allowance.

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Will RCO tugs be next?

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Tugboat mate in Duck crash relieved of duty, gets a lawyer

The tugboat mate who pleaded the fifth earlier this week when federal investigators inquired about the deadly Duck-boat accident was relieved of duty Tuesday night by the vessel's operator, K-Sea Transportation.

The mate, who has not been identified by the company, continues to be a paid employee of K-Sea Transportation, which has "assisted the mate of the Caribbean Sea [the tugboat's name] in retaining independent legal counsel," according to a statement from the East Brunswick, N.J.-based company.

That lawyer, Frank DeSimone, had no comment last night when contacted at his home. But he did say that he had advised his client, whom he refused to identify, to plead the Fifth Amendment, the right against self-incrimination, when meeting with officials from the National Transportation Safety Board.

DeSimone, who said that he has experience in maritime law, refused to say when he was contacted by the mate.

It is believed the mate was at the helm when the 75-foot vessel pushed the 250-foot barge, The Resource, over the anchored Duck boat. The boat sank, leading to the death of two Hungarian students - Szabolcs Prem, 20, and Dora Schwendtner, 16.

Duck-boat crew members tried to radio the Caribbean Sea on Channel 13, but the tug didn't respond to the calls, the NTSB said.

When told that the mate had been relieved of duty, a veteran official with the Seafarer's International Union declared: "Oh, he's gonna to lose his license. He's lost his career, especially because he didn't speak up.

"You gotta tell the truth to the Coast Guard," said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He said that the pilot should have heard the calls from the Duck-boat crew. "Plus, he should have seen that coming down the river, and if it's the mate, the mate was wrong," he said. "How can it be the Duck boat's fault?"

New York personal-injury lawyers Peter and Holly Ronai, hired by the Hungarian students' families, probably know where to lay the blame.

The husband-and-wife legal team, based in Manhattan, will represent the Schwendtners and the Prems in a possible civil action, the Inquirer reported last night.

"The families are devastated. They're completely devastated," Peter Ronai told the paper. The Ronais were about to return from their vacation in Hungary when Peter Ronai was contacted by a friend of Peter Schwendtner, Dora's father. Peter Ronai stayed and Holly Ronai came back last week, the Inquirer said.

He has met with the families to discuss court actions, although it's not just about money.

"There may be criminal proceedings as well," Ronai said. "Dora's father wants the people responsible for this put in jail."

Meanwhile, the NTSB performed a test using a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle yesterday. The Duck boat spent 45 minutes in the Delaware River, twice heading south toward the Hyatt Regency on Penn's Landing and then back north to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

NTSB spokesman Ted Lopathkiewicz said that the results of the ongoing tests would not be immediately released.

Staff writer Josh Fernandez contributed to this report.



Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20100715_Tugboat_mate_in_Duck_crash_relieved_of_duty__gets_a_lawyer.html#ixzz0tmEQceNv
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Family Of Duck Boat Victims Sue 'Ride The Ducks'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3)
CBS
16-year-old Dora Schwendtner and 20-year-old Szabolcs Prem drowned after a duck boat capsized after being hit by a barge in the Delaware River on July 7.

CBS

A Philadelphia lawyer announced Friday that he was compelled to join the legal team for the families of two Hungarian victims of the 'Duck Boat' crash.

"For these families, their worst fears and nightmares were realized," said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi.

Mongeluzzi is headed to Hungary to meet with the parents of 16-year-old Dora Schwendtner and 20-year-old Szabolcs Prem "to get a real sense of their losses."

Schwendtner and Prem, each the only child of the families, were killed July 7 in the 'Ride the Ducks' tour boat collision with a city barge. Their parents are now suing.

On Friday, Mongeluzzi's co-counsel talked to reporters on the phone from Hungary.

"The families here are completely devastated and just speechless," said Peter Ronai.

The two students were on tour as part of a youth exchange group organized through a church in West Chester.

"The (other) children are saying that Prem apparently was trying to save Schwendtner, trying to save her life and in doing so, he lost his life," said Ronai.

The NTSB, who has been investigating since the tragic incident occurred, have conducted interviews with everyone but the tug boat's mate, who has exercised his Fifth Amendment rights.

"The only other case in recent memory where people where killed, where anybody pled the Fifth was the Pier 34 incident and so this raises troubling questions, " said Mongeluzzi.

The operator of the Heat nightclub, which was on Pier 34 when it collapsed, was represented by attorney Frank DeSimone, the same lawyer hired by the tug's mate.

"My client feels terrible about it. He has two children himself, but he also has to make sure his rights are protected," said DeSimone.

"Our families want to know what happened, but they also want to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else," said Mongeluzzi.

For now, Mongeluzzi and his team are suing the 'Ride The Ducks' company and the tug's owner, K-Sea Transportation.

Officials from the NTSB concluded their on scene investigation Friday afternoon. A full report is expected in a month.

The bodies of the two victims will be shipped to Hungary on Tuesday, July 20.

A funeral for Dora Schwendtner has been planned for Thursday July 22 and a funeral for Szabolcs Prem will be held on Friday, July 23.

Messages of condolences can be sent to the families via their lawyers:

Rmongeluzzi@smbb.com & Ronaifirm@aol.com.











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Briefly... CITY/REGION


New tug operator for city

The city has hired another tugboat company to help haul its sludge in wake of this month's deadly Ride the Ducks accident.

Mayoral spokesman Doug Oliver said the city last week suspended its contract with K-Sea Transportation, which was operating the tug that pushed a city barge into a Duck boat on the Delaware on July 7, killing two people.

Oliver said the city awarded a month-to-month contract to McAllister Towing & Transportation Co. while authorities investigate the Duck-boat accident.



Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20100720_Briefly______CITY_REGION.html#ixzz0uHkPunvC
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Report: Philly Didn't Prepare Tour Vehicle Reports

PHILADELPHIA (KYW 1060)

More than two weeks after the fatal Duck Boat accident on the Delaware, KYW Newsradio has learned that the Streets Department never once compiled safety reports on tour passenger vehicles reports that have been required annually under city law since 2006.

KYW's Mike Dunn reports legislation signed into law that year by then-mayor John Street requires the Streets Department to issue a report each March on the safety of all tour vehicles operating in the city including amphibious vehicles like Ride the Ducks.


The report would have looked at how the vehicles operated on city streets, including information about traffic violations by the tour vehicles, accidents including on the streets and the river, and injuries to passengers.

One week after KYW Newsradio requested the 2009 and 2010 reports, Deputy Streets Commissioner Steve Buckley admitted that staffers simply didn't know the law and have never prepared the reports:

"The current staff was really unfamiliar with the code, and had not prepared the report. The chief traffic engineer was unaware that the report had to be prepared."

Buckley said they have now gathered the data for the tourist seasons of 2008 and 2009 and, in response to our request, are now belatedly compiling those reports. He said that data indicated 16 incidents involving amphibious vehicles in 2008 and 15 incidents in 2009.

None of the incidents, he said, involved injuries.

Buckley said they are currently looking for the data for 2006 and 2007, before the current administration took office.

The admission that the reports were never compiled comes two weeks after two young Hungarian tourists were killed in a Duck Boat accident on the Delaware River (see related story). The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing its probe of the accident.

As to the Streets Department, Buckley said in future years the reports will be issued. "We will be fully compliant with the law moving forward."

Information from: KYW-AM, http://www.kyw1060.com






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You know, I always thought that ignorance of the law was now excuse. If some guy put up a garage without obtaining all of the proper permits, perhaps he missed something because he was unaware he needed to file something, the city would be on him like flies on shit. "Sorry, I didn't know" wouldn't cut it.

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Did silenced radio on tug lead to duck-boat crash?

An anonymous tipster has claimed that the tugboat operator in last month's duck-boat tragedy may not have been able to hear distress signals because he turned down the radio to take a cell-phone call, said one of the attorneys representing the families of the Hungarian drowning victims.

The information "has not been confirmed, but those are one of the issues that the parents want us to find out," said Bob Mongeluzzi, referring to the parents of victims Dora Schwendtner, 16, and Sza-bolcs Prem, 20.

K-Sea Transportation, which was contracted by the city to operate the sludge barge that crashed into the boat, didn't have a written policy banning personal cell-phone calls while operating the vessel, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Common Pleas Court. The tugboat operator also did not prohibit crew from turning down the radio, the complaint said.

K-Sea Transportation said in a statement that it's cooperating with the investigation and declined to comment on the suit.

The complaint alleges negligence, outrageous conduct and wrongful death, among other allegations.

The victims' parents sued because they want to know "how and why their children died, and to make sure that no children ever again drown alone at the bottom of a river," Mongeluzzi said.

Mongeluzzi cited a National Transportation Safety Board report stemming from a 1999 Arkansas duck-boat sinking that recommended that the vessels be made buoyant and that canopies be eliminated. The recommendations were not accepted by the Coast Guard.

Bob Salmon, marketing and sales vice president for Ride the Ducks, which operates the duck boats, said the two incidents were "entirely different."

Salmon also called Mongeluzzi's information "speculative," especially concerning the canopy and the vessel's buoyance.

"Our argument is that those two have nothing to do with the accident," Salmon said. "Our vessel was rammed by another. He's just speculating. His job is to point to as many people as he can."

The 13-count civil complaint names Ride the Ducks of Philadelphia and its parent company, Herschend Family Entertainment, of Norcross, Ga.; K-Sea Transportation, of East Brunswick, N.J.; Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing, of Branson, Mo., a Ride the Ducks subsidiary that manufactures the vehicles; and the city of Philadelphia.

Mayoral spokesman Doug Oliver said "we haven't seen it yet," and declined comment.



Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20100811_Did_silenced_radio_on_tug_lead_to_duck-boat_crash_.html#ixzz0wHttJfx1
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Briefly... CITY/REGION

Tug owner wants liability limit

K-Sea Transportation Partners, the owners and operators of the tugboat that last July pushed a city barge into a passenger-filled duck boat, has filed a federal complaint asking the government to limit its liability in the case to just over $1.65 million, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court.

Several lawsuits have been filed against K-Sea, owner of the boat "Caribbean Sea," and the city of Philadelphia, owner of the barge "The Resource." Holly Ostrov Ronai, one of the lawyers who represents the families of two Hungarian youths who drowned in the accident and has filed a lawsuit against K-Sea, the city and Ride the Ducks, said, "The victims in this case have the right to have a jury decide on the facts and what is fair and just when it comes to liability."



Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20101108_Briefly______CITY_REGION.html#ixzz14hzjpeoX
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Uke


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These "Ducks..." were built for, and transported Army, and Marines ashore during WW-II without many major incidents. How did the damn things end up as joy rides on lakes, and shallow near-shore salt water amusement boats? I'm surprised that we're still talkin' about another 'incident' wherein a duck boat went to the bottom, taking a bunch of folks, and kids to their deaths 18 years after that first.

It's like deja vu all over again! Goddammit!


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Seems as though NTSB had a few words ta say about duck boats equipped with 'canopies' ta protect tourists from that mean ol' sun cooking their tender;exposed hides:http://www.wpbf.com/article/report-ntsb-warned-about-canopies-on-duck-boats-nearly-20-years-ago/22498723



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About all I can say is "add to cart" to Mars retrograde this story. The event happened during
Mars retrograde while it may not be the cause. Dealing with it for all involved is going to be
"more than usual" and such unusual circumstances. Peoples died while doing something fun
until all hell broke loose. Pretty sure the "captain" of this trip out in the lake has done it dozens/
lots with these duckboats when the lake is smooth as glass. Have to wonder was the lake nice
one minute and wildwaves the next minute. Poor decision to stay out. It seems in hindsight knowing
this violent weather was forecasted for the area and nobody believed it...until it hit.


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