OOPS! A Port Authority patrol boat sinks off Breezy Point, Queens, after an underwater hatch was opened on board.

Source: NYPost.com

A police sergeant is facing disciplinary charges after his thoughtless actions allegedly led to the sinking of a fully-equipped $500,000 Port Authority patrol in the waters between Breezy Point and Manhattan Beach earlier this month.

According to a New York Post report, the officer ordered the opening of a hatch beneath the water line, causing the vessel to flood and putting 11 lives at risk.

The vessel sank 40 feet to the ocean floor on September 9, forcing eight officers and three civilians to swim approximately 900 feet to shore. Nobody was seriously injuried.

The 37-foot M-2 Moose Boat, equipped with firefighting hoses, nozzles, marine radios, radar, GPS, scuba gear and inflatable rafts, went under during routing rescue exercises after “vibrations” were felt coming from the ship’s engines. A civilian safety consultant from Ocean Rescue Systems, a Maine-based firm hired by the Port Authority to oversee the exercises, suggested the officer open the hatch to take a look.

The hatch, though, was under the water line, and should only have been opened in dry dock.

The boat sank within a half-hour.

The officer faces disciplinary charges and, according to the Post, “will likely lose vacation days for failing to maintain supervisory control and basically abdicating his command to a civilian.”

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  • a good neighbor

    unless the officer knew what to do in that situation, he was just following the recommendation set by an expert hired by the department. i feel sorry he’s taking the blame. 

  • Bugg

    Opening a hatch below the water line is so typical. After all this is a bureaucracy that is  building  a huge WTC that is begging for tenants. It also includes a $4 billion rail hub there; it would be cheaper to buy the 80,000 PATH customers each a luxury car.  The PA has steadfastly refused to fulfill it’s 1920s mandate of building a rail tunnel from Brooklyn (you can see between the end of the Belt, the sewage treatment plant and the beginning of Bush Terminal where the Brooklyn LIRR still runs) to New Jersey. Disparate pols like liberal Congressman Nadler and Conservative NY Leader Mike Long have asked why they never did the exact very needed project they were intended to build.  Your Port Authority-wasting tax dollars and raising tolls pointlessly for almost 100 years.

  • splash

    I was on the boat when it sank.  The Port Authority fed the news such a load of lies to cover up the ineptitude of the upper chain of command.  The Sergeant who they are blaming was in the water practicing rescue swimmer skills when it happened, and he NEVER touched the hatch.  He was not even part of the boat crew.  Through no fault of their own, the 2 member boat crew did not have the training or experience to deal with the engine blockage, and the mechanical failings most likely stemmed from the fact that the PA has not maintained the boats or provided the structure or training for the operations of a maritime unit.  Instead of trying to stand up the unit the right way, the looked for every way to cut corners, and now are trying to pin it on their own officers and the civilian trainers.

    • Anonymous

       How was the swim back to shore?

    • Iamalias

      I wonder if “hatch” should read “valve” or “seacock”. “Hatch implies a window, companionway, or a means of egress, none of which would be below the waterline. Something’s not right with this story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zyork3 Vlad Anony

    at least now they know how long it would take for that model boat to sink

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