Boat Thief Broadcasts Bomb Threats After Stealing Harbor Cruise Launch

Tactical team aboard the launch Beaver after the intercept (USCG)

Published Jun 27, 2021 8:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Thursday, a suspect stole a boat from a dinner cruise operator in Seattle and headed north, broadcasting bomb and hostage threats on VHF Channel 16. 

An employee from Argosy Cruises contacted Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound watchstanders at about 0750 hours Thursday to report that one of their boats, the launch Beaver, had been stolen from their dock. Sector Puget Sound began to track the stolen vessel as the suspect made his way northbound. The sector launched two 45-foot response boat crews, and the 87-foot cutter Swordfish diverted to the scene.

During the chase, the suspect aboard the stolen vessel reportedly used a VHF radio on channel 16 to broadcast threats of explosives and hostages. Sector Puget Sound watchstanders updated local authorities accordingly, and Seattle Vessel Traffic redirected maritime traffic out of the area.

Coast Guard units arrived on scene at about 0905 and found the suspect sitting on the boat's stern. After speaking to the individual and assessing the situation, the Station Port Angeles boat crew approached and took the subject into custody. They brought the stolen vessel safely to shore in Seattle at about 1620 hours for further investigation.

"I’m proud of the decisive response by the Coast Guard and our interagency partners to successfully de-escalate a complex active threat," said Capt. Patrick Hilbert, commander of Sector Puget Sound. "Today’s event highlights the critical importance of continued partnership and coordination with state, local and Tribal agencies.”

Local police and Coast Guard Investigative Services personnel are investigating the incident.