USCG Recognizes Port Hueneme Mariner for Assistance in Dive Boat Fire

Recognition ceremony at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands, June 23 (USCG)

Published Jun 25, 2020 1:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard recognized a marine towing operator at Port Hueneme for his role in the response to the deadly Conception dive boat fire last year. 

On September 2, 2019, Captain Paul Amaral played a key role in response to the Conception fire near Santa Cruz Island, which took the lives of 33 passengers and one crew member. According to the Coast Guard, Amaral towed the burning vessel from shallow water to deeper water so that fire boats could get close enough to control the blaze. His actions were credited with increasing the safety and effectiveness of the recovery and salvage operation. 

Capt. Rebecca Ore, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, presented a Meritorious Public Service award to Capt. Amaral for his service to the maritime community in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. In 2019, Capt. Amaral responded to 389 disabled vessels, 49 potential marine pollution cases and voluntarily responded to 15 distress cases.

"I am honored to recognize Mr. Amaral for everything he has done and continues to do for our maritime community," said Capt. Ore. "He is an outstanding partner to the Coast Guard and goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of the boating public. His actions in response to the Conception tragedy are a true representation of selfless heroism and courage."

The Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service award is the second highest civilian award of its kind, and it is granted to recognize substantial contributions to Coast Guard missions and to public safety.  

The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) are conducting parallel inquiries in to the cause of the fire and its deadly consequences.