SLEEPING AT THE WHEEL OF A FISHING VESSEL? EIGHT TIMES? GROSSLY NEGLIGENT.
Kevin Lam, 43, master of the fishing vessel LADY ANN MARGARET, pled guilty to eight charges of sleeping at the wheel for extended periods of time with no other person on watch, said the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii on October 24, 2014. The prosecution said that Lam’s behavior risked the lives not only of his crew and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observer on board, but also other crewmembers at sea. Capt. Shannon Gilreach, commander, US Coast Guard Honolulu, said, “Mariners who intentionally sleep while on watch or abandon the wheelhouse after setting the helm on autopilot put the lives of their crews and other mariners at risk.”
Lam’s punishment is he cannot act as master or person in charge of any commercial vessel for one year, and he must attend Coast Guard-approved training after the one-year probation is complete. He also must volunteer 60 hours of community service.
According to the Coast Guard, the year before the above charge Lam’s boat collided with another boat while he was sleeping at the wheel. He was fined $2500.