Young Brothers sues tug boat crew for drinking and sailing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Young Brothers sues tug boat crew for drinking and sailing

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Young brothers is accusing one of its own tug boat crews of getting drunk and crashing a multi-million dollar barge.

The details of the Halloween night incident were revealed in a federal lawsuit brought by the company Wednesday.

The company alleges that the Captain, First Mate, and 10 crew members set sail from Kauai's Nawiliwili Harbor to Honolulu, even though members were drunk. The vessels were transporting cargo and became separated. 

The tugboat, the Moana Holo, and the barge, the Maka'ala, hit the breakwater and ran aground, causing significant damage to the vessels.

According to the lawsuit, the crew was ordered to take an alcohol test immediately after, but did not take the tests as ordered.

The Inland Boatman's Union is representing some of the defendants.

"We are vigorously pursuing grievances for these employees," says Donovan Duncan, the Regional Director of the Hawaii Region, "They were badly, even horribly treated considering their heroic efforts after the incident to minimize the damage."

Many of the employees were fired so why is Young Brothers now suing them? 

Attorney Charles Khim, who has represented maritime workers before, says wording in the lawsuit gives him a theory, "I can't speak for the company because I don't know why they brought the lawsuit, but, if they prevail totally in the lawsuit, may be able to escape Coast Guard penalties and state penalties."

The Coast Guard is investigating and said they cannot comment on the case.The amount of damages will be proven at trial.

The company says they cannot comment on the pending lawsuit, but did issue a statement saying they regret that the incident occurred. The statement goes on to say they are grateful that no one was hurt, no cargo was lost or damaged, and that no fuel or oil leaked from the vessels.

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