Man Fined $100,000 For Laser Strike on Washington State Ferry

Mike Schuler
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May 3, 2016

Delivered in 2014 by Vigor Industrial, the MV Tokitae the first of three planned 144-car Olympic class ferries for Washington State Ferries. Photo courtesy Vigor Industrial

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a $100,000 fine to a Washington man who last year intentionally pointed a laser into the wheelhouse of a Washington State Ferry Tokiate.

An investigation into the October 22, 2015 incident determined that Mark Raden of Freeland, WA was aboard the WSF Kitnap transiting between Mukilteo and Clinton when he pointed the high-powered blue laser into the pilot house of the ferry, causing injuries to the ferry master and chief mate.

Coast Guard officials are now seeking payment of a $100,000 civil penalty for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of the Tokitae while underway. The final civil penalty amount will be determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Virginia.

“Firing a laser at a vessel is extremely dangerous and directly interferes with the safe movement of commercial vessels and the Coast Guard’s ability to conduct search and rescue operations,” said Captain Joe Raymond, Captain of the Port, Sector Puget Sound. “I encourage individuals who witness laser attacks on commercial vessels and Coast Guard small boats and aircraft to call 911.”

That Coast Guard says that in addition to laser strikes on Washington State Ferries, laser strikes involving Coast Guard helicopters and rescue boats in Puget Sound have continued to increase over the last few years, which can hamper search and rescue and cause injury.

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