Alleged ferry thief may face grand theft vessel charge
CTV British Columbia
Published Sunday, December 1, 2013 12:41PM PST
Last Updated Sunday, December 1, 2013 7:19PM PST
A man was taken into custody Sunday morning after it was reported that a suspicious person was aboard a Victoria Clipper ferry near Seattle.
The boat was discovered adrift in Elliot Bay 300 yards off the Seattle waterfront at around 7 a.m. Sunday morning. According to police, the U.S. Coast Guard and Seattle police were contacted after a tugboat was sent to retrieve the 300-seat boat and a man was discovered on board.
The Seattle Police Department SWAT team and helicopter teams also responded and the SWAT officers eventually boarded the vessel and arrested the man after he refused to answer the radio or phone on the ferry. The man told police he had planned to take the ferry to West Seattle.
Some passengers who travelled on another Clipper ferry Sunday, were amused by the man’s alleged theft attempt.
"I thought it was hilarious,” one passenger said. “It got probably about maybe 500 metres. It wasn't much of a theft at all."
Others who saw the incident thought the weather was to blame when they saw the tugboat towing the 132-foot vessel.
“I just looked out the window and said to my friend, ‘Oh, wonder what’s going on over there?’…[I] thought maybe because of the rough weather, maybe the vessel was just broken down,” one passenger said.
Darrel Brian, the president of Clipper Navigation, said the man climbed through a gap in a fence to board the high-speed vessel.
“In 28 years we've not had any issue with anyone gaining access," Brian said.
Clipper Navigation plans to have the security breach fixed soon, and the suspect may face charges of piracy or grand theft vessel.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Penny Daflos